Summer 2024

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson enters new chapter of career, strives to be 'consistent with God'

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson wanted to make two things clear last week when he spoke to the media for the first time since signing a five-year extension that makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL.

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First, Baltimore was always where he wanted to be. It just took a while to get the details of the contract sorted out. The trade request was part of the negotiation process, and it’s in the past now.

“I just really wanted to get something done here,” Jackson said at Thursday’s press conference. “I wanted to be here. … I really want to finish my career here and win a Super Bowl here.”

Second, the 2019 league MVP would not be where he is today without his faith in God.

“It is not about what people say. … It is about believing in yourself at the end of the day,” Jackson said. “Keeping God first because without Him, there is no Lamar Jackson. I’m gonna tell you that now.”

There was plenty of discussion about Jackson’s decision to represent himself instead of using an agent, and the way the Ravens handled the prolonged contract negotiations. Jackson wasn’t bothered by all the noise and placed the situation in God’s hands.

“I kept Him first at all times no matter what I went through. … I just kept my faith with Him, and now we’re here,” he said.

Once the contract was officially announced, Jackson posted pictures on social media with the caption “THANK GOD.”

In his five seasons with the Ravens, Jackson has made the Pro Bowl twice, been named a first-team All-Pro once and led the team to four playoff appearances. Baltimore is 45-16 in regular-season games Jackson has started, and 8-13 in its other 21 regular-season games since drafting him.

In his MVP-winning season, Jackson led the NFL in touchdown passes (36) and Total Quarterback Rating (83.0), while rushing for 1,206 yards and passing for 3,127. He got the team off to an 8-4 start in 2022 before spraining his PCL. He missed the final five games, as well as Baltimore’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

At the same time they were working on a new deal to keep the 26-year-old Jackson in Baltimore, the Ravens were also busy improving their supporting cast on offense. They signed veteran receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted receiver Zay Flowers in the first round.

Jackson said the additions have him thinking about a 6,000-yard passing season.

In a recent appearance on “The Wunderkind Show” after signing the contract, Jackson was asked what advice he would give to young kids who may be struggling in some area of their life. He responded by discussing the importance of praying regularly, and said that God will lead people to where they’re supposed to be, whether that’s being a football player, a musician or something else.

“You’ve got to keep God first. Pray to God, and you’ve got to be consistent with God,” he said. “It’s not like making a wish, like seeing a shooting star and just making a wish. You’ve got to be consistent when you’re praying to God.”

Jackson also confirmed during last week’s press conference that he is completely recovered from his PCL injury. He and the rest of the NFL will know the 2023 schedule when the league releases it on Thursday.

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