Baltimore Colts running back Lenny Moore on Lamar Jackson: ‘It’s just natural God-given talent.’

Lenny Moore, the Baltimore Colts’ Hall of Fame running back, has this advice for the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson:

“Just keep doin’ what you’re doin’. But don’t try to explain what it is, because you can’t.”


Moore, 85, sat in his Randallstown home Sunday and watched Jackson peel off a 47-yard touchdown run as the quarterback spun like a top to elude tacklers in the Ravens’ 49-13 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. Moore said he just stared at the screen in awe, as he’s done all season watching Jackson rack up yards on the ground.

“You can’t teach that,” he said of Jackson’s moves. “I see the things he’s doing, where he’s turning around and the footwork and all, and they’re unexplainable. Some of those moves, damn, you just shake your head in wonder. But to talk about it, to say, ‘Why did I move my foot this way and my hips that way?’ He can’t do that. It’s just natural God-given talent.”

Moore knows. He played for the Colts from 1956 through 1967 and rushed for 5,174 yards and 63 touchdowns. Four times, he led the NFL in yards per carry, three times averaging at least seven yards. (Jackson’s average is 8.0.) One of Moore’s nicknames was “Sputnik,” for the Russian satellite that circled the world in 98 minutes. Like Jackson, he had a gossamer-like presence on the run. Defenders zeroing in on Moore might grab nothing but air, as Charlie Britt of the Los Angeles Rams once said:

“I reached out to make the tackle, but when I did, [Moore] just wasn’t there.”

Trying to stop Moore, The Sun opined, was “like trying to seize a phantom.” But even now, more than 50 years later, Moore cannot dissect his high-stepping running style.

“I’m not sure what I was doing myself, but I never questioned it,” he said. “When I made a big play, I just tapped the mini-Bible I kept in my right thigh pad and said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ I always made sure I kept The Master with me.”

Moore has met Jackson and said, “I know that he knows, when he makes those moves, that God is in charge. He’s great for the Ravens. When you’ve got a guy who can do 90,000 things, it’s exciting. But if teams can’t figure him out, they’ll try to knock the hell out of him, like they did John [Unitas] and me. So [the Ravens] have to protect him out there.”

Moore believes there are more pivotal antics in Jackson’s repertoire.

“He shows us more and more every week. His body just seems to make those kind of moves,” he said. “Wait and see; you never know.”

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