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Robert Griffin III: Lamar Jackson, Ravens Can Repair Relationship amid Tension Rumors

Doric SamJanuary 17, 2023

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
AP Photo/Terrance Williams

There appears to be a disconnect between the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson after the star quarterback chose not to travel with the team for Sunday's playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, ESPN's Robert Griffin III expressed optimism on Monday that any tension from either side can be resolved this offseason.

"What I can say is that I talked to people in the building today, and this relationship is salvageable," Griffin said, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

Griffin also offered an explanation as to why Jackson was absent from the sidelines during Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Bengals, saying, "The reason Lamar Jackson didn't travel to the football game was because he was sick. They diagnosed this, said that he was sick, he didn't go on the trip."

However, the decision from the 26-year-old drew substantial attention, as his contract status is set to become the biggest storyline of the offseason. Jackson played the 2022 season on his fifth-year option and if a long-term deal is not reached with the Ravens before early March, Baltimore will have to use its franchise tag to stop him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Griffin went on to defend Jackson and said he was not trying to send a message from the team before negotiations begin.

"This narrative about Lamar Jackson that people are weaponizing, saying he didn't go out there on the field because he wasn't willing to put it on the line for his teammates or he wants a new contract, I just feel like that's wrong," Griffin said.

Jackson missed the final five games of the regular season with a knee injury, and he announced on Twitter that a Grade 2 PCL sprain would keep him sidelined against Cincinnati. While some criticized Jackson for not playing through the injury in a postseason matchup, Griffin praised him for prioritizing his health:

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

This is why you don't just put a brace on it and play. Played with no ACL and LCL for my brothers/team. Changed the trajectory of my career. Hindsight is 20/20. I didn't have the luxury of that. Lamar does. He is DOING THE RIGHT THING. <a href="https://t.co/UPY5pKNOcH">pic.twitter.com/UPY5pKNOcH</a>

While Jackson has now been injured late in the year in back-to-back seasons, he is still one of the top talents in the league and the Ravens would be wise to try to repair their relationship with the 2019 NFL MVP.