Lamar claps back over questions on durability


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after Lamar Jackson announced he had requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens, the former NFL MVP quarterback was back on social media defending why he didn’t play in last season’s playoff game.

“Let’s get real. I rather have a 100% PCL than go out there and play horrible forcing myself to put my guys in a bad situation now that’s selfish to me,” Jackson tweeted Tuesday night.

Jackson pushed back against those who suggested that he sat out the Ravens’ 24-17 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals because he had not reached a long-term deal with Baltimore.

“I don’t remember me sitting out on my guys week 1 vs jets To week 12 vs Broncos,” Jackson tweeted. “How come all of a sudden I sit out because of money in which I could’ve got hurt at anytime within that time frame when we know the Super Bowl been on my mind since April 2018.”

When Jackson sprained his left knee Dec. 4, it was initially believed he would miss two to three weeks. But Jackson was sidelined for the final six games, including the postseason loss at the Bengals.

Three days before that playoff game, Jackson ruled himself out with a tweet that said his knee “remains unstable” and that his injury was more serious than originally believed.

Asked at the end of the season whether Jackson’s absence was contract-related, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said: “Lamar can speak to that, but my feeling is no. I think Lamar was hurt. It was just bad timing and I think bad luck for us and bad luck for Lamar.”

On Monday, Jackson created drama at the NFL’s annual league meeting when he tweeted that he had requested a trade from the Ravens on March 2. Baltimore placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson on March 7, allowing him to speak to other teams and negotiate a contract with them. If Jackson signs an offer sheet with another team, the Ravens can match the deal or receive two first-round picks as compensation.

Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent and is representing himself, hasn’t drawn much interest publicly from teams. The Indianapolis Colts are the only team to confirm they would consider Jackson.

On Tuesday, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said there is some question about Jackson’s durability.

“Looking at it objectively, there is some concern about whether or not he can play his style of game for … how long can that last,” Blank told reporters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m not sure. He’s only 26. Hopefully a long time for his benefit or anybody that he’s signed with. But he’s missed five to six games each of the last two years. This is not like baseball and basketball where you’re playing 82 or 182 games, or whatever baseball is now.”

Jackson was out the final four games of the 2021 season with an ankle injury before missing six games last season with the knee injury.

A year ago, the Falcons were among the teams looking to sign Deshaun Watson, who eventually went to the Cleveland Browns on a record-setting five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed deal. Blank demurred about making comparisons about the pursuit of the two quarterbacks.

“I think Lamar’s situation, and I don’t really want to spend a whole lot of time talking about players on other clubs, but Lamar’s situation, I think is very different,” Blank said. “A different player. Different time.”

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