Ravens coach noncommittal on Lamar Jackson’s practice return
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined on Monday to say whether Lamar Jackson will practice this week but said the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback is “working super hard” to return for the start of the postseason.
“He wants to play,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no doubt. That’s my feeling.”
The Ravens play at the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC wild-card game on Sunday night. Baltimore is a 6½-point underdog.
Jackson has been sidelined since injuring his left knee on Dec. 4. He’s looking to become the first quarterback in 17 seasons to miss at least the final five games of the regular season due to injury and return to start a postseason game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last quarterback to do so was Byron Leftwich with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005.
Asked if Jackson would practice this week, Harbaugh said: “I don’t really have an update right now to share with you.”
Harbaugh said Jackson has “been in great spirits” during his recovery and he was having a workout with trainers on Monday.
“Hopefully it’s progressing to the point where he can get to practice sometime soon,” Harbaugh said. “That’s really what we’re all hoping for, for sure. When we have something to report on that we will, honestly, it’s just the truth of it.”
The Ravens offense has struggled mightily without Jackson. In five games with Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown as its starting quarterbacks, Baltimore has averaged 13 points per game and has scored a total of four touchdowns — both of which are the second-fewest in the NFL over that span.
“Of course, Lamar if he’s able to go, that gives us the best chance to win,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “I’m rooting for that. At the same time, it’s football. Whoever we put out there, we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Jackson, 26, is closing out the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. If the sides can’t reach an extension this offseason, the Ravens would have to put the franchise tag on Jackson to keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.