During the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix this week, seemingly each club with even an inkling of quarterback questions was asked about the possibility of considering chasing Lamar Jackson. Each time, the possibility of signing the former NFL MVP was met with dismissal for one reason or another.
One thought postulated was longevity concerns after Jackson missed the past two Decembers due to injury. On Tuesday night, Jackson took to Twitter to defend himself from questions about his injury history and why he didn't play down the stretch of the 2022 campaign after suffering a PCL injury. Jackson took issue with the notion that he didn't play because he didn't have a new contract.
"I don't remember me sitting out on my guys week 1 vs jets To week 12 vs Broncos," Jackson 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."
Jackson also added that playing injured would have only hurt his teammates.
"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," he tweeted.
Since Jackson doesn't have an agent to spread news or explanations on his behalf, social media has become the mode the Ravens quarterback has chosen to directly get his side of the story out, including notice of a trade request.
Jackson missed five games each of the past two seasons, including the final handful of 2022 -- including a wild-card loss to the Bengals -- due to the PCL injury. The Ravens hoped he'd return down the stretch, not putting him on injured reserve, but the injury never got to a place that would allow him to play.
Responding to a question about the injury, Jackson said, "90% is 100% to me, I wasn't there at all," providing an insight into where he was at in his recovery down the stretch of the season.
Neither head coach John Harbaugh nor anyone else in the Ravens' front office has suggested that Jackson didn't play to protect his contract interests. We have no reason to believe there is any validity in that outside of Jackson being a hot topic on social media. The former first-round pick has always been a firebrand whose No. 1 goal was a Lombardi Trophy. To suggest he sat out of a playoff run due to a contract situation that he could have resolved at any point during the past two years is folly. Jackson's handling of his contract negotiations is fair for criticism, but blasting an injured person for not playing through the damage is a wrongheaded step.
Jackson also answered a question as to why he didn't travel to Cincinnati for the Ravens' playoff game against the Bengals -- a point some have used to call the quarterback selfish.
"After I traveled to the Pittsburgh game 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," he tweeted.
After Jackson let news cycle after news cycle pass without interjecting his side, he finally entered the fray this week. Now we wait for his next tweet.