Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh updated the status of Lamar Jackson during an end of season press conference on January 31, telling media that the injured star quarterback would be “back to work the day after the Super Bowl.”
That would place Jackson’s return on February 14, more than two months after he injured his ankle against the Cleveland Browns. The 2019 MVP revealed on January 10 that his injury, initially thought to be a low ankle sprain, was in fact a bone bruise that ultimately sidelined him for the Ravens’ last five games.
Harbaugh told media that the unpredictability of a bone bruise prevented Jackson from returning to the team for the rest of the season.
“He worked really hard at getting back, but it just didn’t really heal,” said Harbaugh, who revealed that Jackson was still limping at the end of the regular season, even with a walking boot on. Jackson returned for one practice on December 29, but he was limited by a noticeable limp.
But Harbaugh expressed optimism about Jackson’s status going into the offseason, with the expectation that Jackson would be “healed up” by February 14.
“I talked to him Saturday,” said Harbaugh, “He said it felt great. He said it was really getting better.”
Ravens fans will certainly be closely watching Jackson’s social media pages to see when their star quarterback starts his offseason workouts. Another meet-up with Antonio Brown could spark even more rumors about the star receiver’s desire to play in Baltimore after he posted a mock-up of himself in a Ravens jersey on January 25.
Jackson Planning to Skip Pro Bowl
Harbaugh’s announcement of Jackson’s recovery timetable all but confirms that he will miss the 2021 Pro Bowl on February 6, which was first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortenson on January 27.
Jackson joined Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in declining his invitation to the Pro Bowl, though Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is expected to attend.
This was Jackson’s second career Pro Bowl selection, with the first coming at the end of his sterling MVP season in 2019. He was the youngest starting quarterback in Pro Bowl history that year, throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns on his way to earning offensive MVP honors, per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco.
Jackson expressed his appreciation in December 2021 after he was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl team, telling Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, “There have been ups and downs along the way this season, but ultimately, I am honored and excited to be one of the players who represents Baltimore in the Pro Bowl.”
Analyst Predicts Lamar Jackson’s Contract
While Jackson’s recovery will certainly be a main concern for the Ravens this offseason, they’re likely to turn their attention to an extension for their star quarterback after negotiations stalled once the regular season started.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently predicted that Jackson would receive a six-year, $250 million contract from the Ravens, similar to the deal Josh Allen received from the Bills in August 2021.
To be fair, there’s a real chance that quarterback Lamar Jackson doesn’t receive an extension during the offseason. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal, but he has yet to reach an agreement and wasn’t in contract talks as of the late regular season…Baltimore might wait until Jackson is healthy and back to All-Pro form before granting his long-term deal. Still, it’s hard to see the Ravens letting the 25-year-old finish his rookie contract without one. He was the unanimous MVP in 2019 and has taken Baltimore to the postseason in three of his four campaigns.
Jackson told media at the end of the regular season that he’s more focused on getting healthy than his contract, but the team will certainly want to make progress on a deal.