A day after revealing his trade request from the Ravens in a bombshell tweet, star quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to Twitter to make another revelation.
In a series of tweets late Tuesday night, Jackson defended his recent injury history and explained why he didn’t travel with the Ravens to Cincinnati for their AFC wild-card playoff game against the Bengals — a point of contention among fans and analysts as the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player attempts to negotiate a lucrative contract.
“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.
As far as not appearing on the sideline at Paycor Stadium, he said: “After I traveled to the Pittsburgh game [in Week 14] my PCL got inflated so a few of us discussed it and I got the ok to stay so I could try in recover faster.”
Jackson, who does not have an agent, also denied he sat out as a negotiating tactic. In a series of tweets days before the playoff game Jan. 15, Jackson said his injured knee was “unstable” and a “borderline” Grade 3 injury, which would mean the ligament is completely torn and the knee is unstable, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“I don’t remember me sitting out on my guys week 1 vs jets To week 12 vs Broncos,” he 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.”
[ Even as a former MVP, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson lacks agency. That leaves him pulling any lever he can. | ANALYSIS ]
With Jackson still recovering from a sprained knee he suffered in Week 13 against the Denver Broncos, the Ravens were forced to start backup Tyler Huntley, who helped lead Baltimore to a near-upset of the defending AFC champions before fumbling at the goal line on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Sam Hubbard returned the loose ball 98 yards for a touchdown, the decisive blow in a 24-17 Bengals victory.
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To Jackson, the outcome would have been different if he were healthy enough to play.
“If I wasn’t hurt lord knows we would’ve been hunting,” he tweeted in response to tweet questioning why he wasn’t playing. “You know that stop trying to be a comedian.”
After being issued the $32.4 million nonexclusive franchise tag earlier this month — which allows the 26-year-old quarterback to negotiate a contract with another team while giving the Ravens the ability to match it or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation — Jackson has not yet found a suitor. One of the reasons might be his perceived durability after the 2018 first-round pick missed a combined 10 games the past two seasons with ankle and knee injuries.
At the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix this week, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank questioned Jackson’s track record when asked about his team potentially making a run at the quarterback.
“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.”
So far, only the Indianapolis Colts have left the door open for a potential move for Jackson. However, owner Jim Irsay recently said he’s against fully guaranteed contracts — something Jackson has reportedly sought — and added that “it’s important not to compromise your future” to acquire a star player. The Colts have the No. 4 overall pick in next month’s draft, which they would have to give Baltimore if they sign Jackson before the first round begins April 27.
In response to a tweet from The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz showing Jackson’s career stats against the coaches who have publicly said they have no interest in acquiring the two-time Pro Bowl selection, Jackson had a simple response: “I can’t wait to see you all.”