Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson hasn't attended the team's voluntary organized team activities, but head coach John Harbaugh isn't too worried about it.
"I expect him to be here at mandatory minicamp," he told reporters Wednesday. "I know he's working hard. Lamar Jackson's a hard worker, so I'm not worried about how hard he's working. I fully expect him to come back in great shape, that's what he talks about. I'm sure he's throwing. I'm sure he's doing a good job."
Jackson also said publicly in late May he would "be there."
Lamar Jackson @Lj_era8
Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris. This part of OTAs is Voluntary my Guy I will be there, just not on your watch it’s probably other QBs not attending Voluntary OTAs either but since it’s Lamar it’s a huge deal. Find something else to talk about🙄 <a href="https://t.co/2Nx2b767bb">https://t.co/2Nx2b767bb</a>
"When he gets back here, we'll be rolling with Lamar," Harbaugh added. "Right now we roll with the guys we've got. When he gets here, he'll merge right in with everybody, and we'll go to work with Lamar."
Jackson is one of several notable quarterbacks to skip OTAs, joining veterans like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and a few players who have received excused absences from mandatory minicamps in advance of potential trades, including Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield.
What makes Jackson's situation particularly interesting, however, is that he's entering the final year of his contract, and a potential extension for the quarterback has been a major storyline this offseason. If he and the Ravens don't agree on a deal, he could hit free agency next spring, though Baltimore assuredly would use the franchise tag to prevent him from signing elsewhere.
One fascinating wrinkle to the situation has been that Jackson hasn't been engaging with the team in contract talks.
"I think it takes two sides to actively put their heads together and get a deal worked out," general manager Eric DeCosta told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in March. "We are ready to be there for Lamar at any point when he decides that he really wants to work on it, we will be."
Jeff Zrebiec @jeffzrebiec
Asked about the possibility of Lamar Jackson not signing an ext. this year, Bisciotti said: "Unless he has a change of heart and calls Eric and says I’m ready. But it’s like, Eric can’t keep calling him and say, ‘Hey Lamar, you really need to get in here and get this thing done."
It remains a situation worth monitoring in Baltimore, though concerned Ravens fans will take solace in both Jackson and his head coach indicating that he'll be back with the team for mandatory minicamp, which starts Tuesday.