Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was notably absent from the team’s OTAs on Wednesday, and his teammates shared their thoughts on what Jackson’s absence means for the season.
Jackson wasn’t the only Ravens player missing from the Ravens’ organized team activities, but because of his ongoing contract talks, his absence has made waves across the league.
Though OTAs are voluntary, they can be valuable to any team looking to generate chemistry early on — and the quarterback is arguably the most important piece of team bonding.
Head coach John Harbaugh didn’t give an explanation for Jackson’s absence, telling reporters he would let Jackson speak for himself, but a few of Jackson’s teammates were asked about how Jackson’s absence affects the team.
Mark Andrews, Jackson’s trusty target for the last four years, has spoken with Jackson and believes the quarterback will be back on the field when he’s ready.
He told reporters:
"“I know he’s extremely motivated, extremely hungry. So there’s no worries over there. I know what he’s doing and we’re all working to do our job here and getting ready for him. We’ll be ready to go and I’m confident that he’ll be ready and show everybody what he’s got and the type of hunger he has right now.”"
The Ravens express no worries over Lamar Jackson’s absence at OTAs
Rehabilitating cornerback Marlon Humphrey echoed a similar sentiment and didn’t waver in his faith in the Ravens’ franchise quarterback:
"“If it was training camp, it would be really bad. But I think as long as guys are working, no matter where they are, that’s the key. We’ll be really excited to get him out here.”"
Humphrey is coming off a season-ending injury, but the fact that he opted to attend OTAs bodes well for his comeback this year.
The Ravens made several crucial additions to their secondary this offseason, and the challenge this preseason will be finding the right fit for each defender. Humphrey and Marcus Peters will slide into their starting spots with Brandon Stephens in the slot, while safeties Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams, and Chuck Clark will jostle for a permanent position in the backfield.
Jackson’s contract extension continues to drag out this offseason, but that doesn’t seem to be the quarterback’s priority at the moment.
So far, no one in Ravens camp seems worried about Jackson’s participation status this season, so at least that’s a good sign.