Chicago — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was ruled out ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears because of an illness, opening the door for Tyler Huntley to make his first career start.
Jackson was downgraded to questionable Saturday because of an illness that sidelined him in practice Wednesday and Thursday. Jackson had said after practice Friday, in which he was a full participant, that he was feeling “great” and “way better than I was a couple of days ago,” when he said he might’ve had a cold.
Asked Friday whether he would play Sunday, Jackson said, “If Coach [John Harbaugh] lets me play, I’m playing. Yes.”
But Jackson fell ill again and arrived at Soldier Field in an “almost empty bus,” according to CBS. He’ll miss his first game since the Ravens’ Week 12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, when he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the coronavirus. Jackson’s only other missed start was in the Ravens’ 2019 regular-season finale against Pittsburgh, when he sat out the game with several other starters to prepare for the postseason.
According to a report from Fox Sports, Jackson has “some congestion in his lungs.” The NFL Network reported that “the exact virus hasn’t been identified yet” by the Ravens’ medical staff, but it was enough to keep Jackson out of the game.
Huntley, a former undrafted free agent, is 14-for-29 in his career, including the playoffs, for 114 passing yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. His last start in a regular-season game came Dec. 31, 2019, during his final game for Utah.
Baltimore Ravens Insider
Jackson’s absence means the Ravens will be without their top quarterback, top wide receiver (Marquise “Hollywood” Brown), top running back (J.K. Dobbins) and top offensive tackle (Ronnie Stanley) on Sunday. Brown is dealing with a thigh injury, while Dobbins and Stanley suffered season-ending knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
Sunday’s game had offered a prime opportunity for Jackson, a leading contender for NFL Most Valuable Player honors, to get the AFC North-leading Ravens (6-3) back on track. Jackson struggled against a blitz-heavy Miami Dolphins defense in Week 10, and the Ravens lost, 22-10. Now the team will hope to get him back for a Week 12 home prime-time game against the Cleveland Browns.
Ravens tight end Nick Boyle, meanwhile, will make his long-awaited season debut Sunday. Boyle hasn’t played since suffering a season-ending knee injury against the New England Patriots last November. Boyle was a full participant in practice throughout the week.
Running back Latavius Murray (ankle), who hasn’t played since Week 6, and right tackle Patrick Mekari (ankle), sidelined since Week 7, also will return to action. Mekari could help stabilize the Ravens’ offensive line after their struggles against Miami, while Murray will reunite with Devonta Freeman in their backfield.
Wide receiver Devin Duvernay (knee), inside linebacker Kristian Welch (foot) and cornerback Tavon Young (foot) are also active. All three were questionable for Sunday’s game.
Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (thigh), wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (thigh) and Miles Boykin (finger), defensive tackle Brandon Williams (shoulder), outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee), and cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (hip/neck) and Anthony Averett (thigh) will not play against Chicago.
For the Bears, star outside linebacker Khalil Mack will miss the remainder of the season while recovering from foot surgery. Reserve quarterback Nick Foles, reserve tight end Jesper Horsted, starting wide receiver Allen Robinson II (hamstring), reserve running back Damien Williams (knee), starting defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle), reserve cornerback Artie Burns and starting safety Eddie Jackson are inactive.