Lamar Jackson has been criticized by NFL insiders since day 1 and still has detractors despite his success. In the same way that Cam Newton was never going to appease no small number of people for multiple reasons, it seems Jackson has met a similar fate.
He has done things his own way, in an unorthodox way, and he has worked very well for the first few years of his professional career. He doesn’t want to do things the way they’ve always been done, and the scholar doesn’t like it.
last week jackson offered its first update about the state of his injured left knee, the one that kept him sidelined for the final weeks of the Ravens’ season, including the the team’s AFC wild card loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
Jackson wrote that he had a grade 2 PCL sprain, “bordering on a [Grade] 3” and was still dealing with swelling and instability. The PCL is one of the main stabilizers of the knee joints, a grade 2 sprain is a partial tear and a grade 3 sprain is a complete tear.
On the field, Lamar isn’t Lamar without two good knees.
Off the field, he is out of contract for the 2023 season and beyond, a topic that has been making headlines all season.
Fans are fans, so hopefully a Twitter search for “Lamar leaves” you’d find plenty of missives from those who say Jackson should risk his health, well-being and financial future with no money guaranteed if things go wrong. But it wasn’t just fans who criticized Jackson. About him Fox Sports pregame showSean Payton was awkwardly belittling Jackson, telling the quarterback, “the team is more important than you.”
Michael Vick parroted Payton and then said, “Put on a brace, get it going. Put on a brace, come on.”
Outsiders will always have their opinions, and many still refuse to consider professional athletes as human beings because some of them win extra-large checks, but this call came from inside the house. That’s a dirty job.
If we wanted our inner Petty Betty to freak out, this is where we remind her that Payton was suspended for an entire season for turning a blind eye to the bounty program run by one of his New Orleans assistants (pointed out by former NFL player Junior Galette) and that Vick derailed his meteoric rise with downright stupid decisions. But that would be silly, right?
Payton, who stopped training last year because he said so he was not where his heart was, seems to be going down the beaten path that Jon Gruden once walked, teasing him to quit his cushy broadcast job to be a franchise savior, only if the price and situation are right, naturally. However, he refused to acknowledge that Jackson may be doing the same and looking out for his best interests, both his current and future earning potential, as well as his current and future physical and emotional health. Jackson wants to get paid and, we assume, be able to walk on his own in 40 years. Payton wants to be celebrated. and paid
Let’s say Jackson had played against the Bengals. He had put on a brace, as Vick so gleefully opined, and he started the game. Dr. Jess Flynn, a Boston-based sports medicine doctor, told Yahoo Sports that Jackson was at risk of tearing his meniscus, or cartilage, in his knee; those tears often require surgery, and some cartilage damage can be a lifelong problem, Flynn said.
Let’s say the worst happened. If Jackson had held up like he wanted and played poorly, Payton and Vick probably would have been the first to disparage his performance. And would they have offered to make up the difference in the money Jackson lost on his contract? Of course, no.
It would have been Robert Griffin III all over again, a talented quarterback who harmonizes his career long-term by addressing the team’s immediate need. Griffin posted as much on Twitter in defense of Jackson. Playing hurt by his “brothers/team…changed the trajectory of my career,” Griffin tweeted.
The inimitable reporter Jim Trotter recently said on the NFL network that after a game in December, a player from a different team approached him and, without being asked, mentioned Jackson’s injury. That player told Trotter that he sprained his PCL in Week 1 and months later he still wasn’t 100 percent.
Lamar Jackson isn’t using an agent, and it’s hurting him
A complicating factor in all of this is that Jackson does not have an agent. he really, Really should you have one? Represent yourself, or work in tandem with a family member, as Jackson does, is fine to a point, as rookie contracts are assigned and mostly standard. But the point at which Jackson should have relented and hired an agent is over.
An agent tells the player’s point of view through the media, so when Jackson was injured in December, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh told reporters it was “week by week,” thus creating the expectation that it was a game-to-game situation. , an agent reportedly went after Harbaugh and said it was at least a four-week timeline, which is in line with the average recovery from a PCL injury like Jackson’s.
An agent reportedly dealt with the team, lobbying on the client’s behalf to make sure Jackson didn’t return too soon, a move that generally benefits the team more than the player.
An agent also has the arguments at the bargaining table so the player doesn’t have to, and when a deal is made, the lingering bad feelings are mostly between the organization and the agent, not the player.
Jackson and the Ravens have made a mess of all of this., and it seems to be getting worse. Not just because Jackson doesn’t have an agent, but because he’s too online, and every cryptic message and public response to a troll has amateur detectives trying to figure out what “really” means.
Also because a lot of Harbaugh’s public comments don’t sound like someone expecting to welcome a franchise quarterback who turned 26 earlier this month and already has an MVP on his resume, as if that kind of player could easily be replicated. .
And because everyone has an opinion, many of them support the NFL’s outdated status quo: who cares about tomorrow, get shot and play today. It doesn’t matter, get out there for the team.
All of that overlooks the cold truth: the team is a business and will mercilessly cut a player the moment they think it’s in the best interest of the business and the bottom line, no matter how many injuries they’ve played through.
Lamar is also a business. He knows it and moves accordingly.
But his next step, as he continues to rehab his knee, should be to get someone to do his dirty work for him.