Ravens WR calls on Lamar Jackson to play through injury
Lamar Jackson will not be playing in the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and that news is not sitting well with at least one teammate.
Sammy Watkins was claimed off waivers by the Ravens last month and has 3 catches for 119 yards in 3 games with Baltimore this season. He’s newer in the locker room, so maybe the 29-year-old feels more comfortable talking publicly than some of his other teammates, because Watkins did not hold back about the team’s quarterback situation.
Watkins talked with The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore on Wednesday and called on Jackson to play through a knee injury.
“In this league, everybody is pretty much banged up, hurt,” Watkins told The Post. “I don’t want to speak for him and his situation and whatever he’s going through with the contracts. I don’t know what world he’s in. But for me, you got a chance to do something special. We all know with Lamar Jackson out there, this team is really freaking good, and special things can happen. He can will this team to a Super Bowl. I don’t think he’s thinking about it that way. . . .”
Watkins acknowledged he was being selfish by asking Jackson to play through injury for the Ravens.
“He’s got an opportunity to win a Super Bowl,” Watkins added. “I hope he hobbles back out there. . . . Put him out for the pass plays, and don’t run him at all. But you never know. That could be wrong. I’m being very selfish right now, just to want him to be out on the field. But, man, what a great thing it would be to see 8 touch the field this Sunday, and we go out there and blow them out. But that’s for Lamar and everybody else to figure out. Hope miraculously something happens, somebody reach out to him, whether it’s a coach or somebody, and he decides to play. But that’s a question if he’s healthy or he’s not. I don’t know. I haven’t been watching him.”
Watkins further said that he believes Jackson is not playing because of his contract situation.
“I think the world is ready to see Lamar back on the field, doing what he do best, and get all the stipulations and contract stuff behind him. I pray somebody talks to him like, ‘Man, just sign the deal.’ You know what I mean? And he get out there and hopefully, if . . . he’s healthy, he can just come play this Sunday. We all know that’s up to Lamar and whatever goes on. Hopefully, they get something done. The world wants to see Lamar be a Baltimore Raven for the rest of his life. . . . [T]he world wants to watch Lamar Jackson. That’s a phenom talent, a talent that you rarely come by. Things that he do on the field and things that you see, to be quite honest when he’s out there, he makes everybody play better, just to have him in that huddle. I pray that somebody reach out to him or that he’s really truly getting healthy and can play, that he wake up Thursday and be like, ‘All right, forget it. I’m playing.’ I think that would change the whole trajectory of our season.”
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Jackson originally hurt his knee on December 4. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said at the time that he thought the injury would keep Jackson out for days to weeks. Jackson has not played since then.
Amid questions about his status for the Wild Card playoff game against Cincinnati, Jackson posted on Twitter Thursday about the condition of his knee.
The 26-year-old quarterback is currently playing on his 5th-year contract option, which is for $23 million. He and the Ravens were unable to come to an agreement on a long-term contract extension prior to the season, reportedly because Jackson wants a fully-guaranteed contract, which is nearly unprecedented in the NFL. There is a belief that Jackson is being cautious with his knee due to his lack of a long-term contract.