By Chris Schisler
Lamar Jackson tested positive for Covid-19. This is his second positive test, he missed a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers the first time. This is a frustrating problem to deal with for the Baltimore Ravens, a team who also has running back Gus Edwards on a 10-day quarantine for his positive test.
From a football perspective, this is a perfect chance for Tyler Huntley to win the understudy role in Ravens training camp. It does however halt the progress of an offense that is supposed to undergo some changes this year. Then you have the other issue. Vaccination talk and vitriol coming from both sides.
Vaccination is a choice, but the NFL has made stiff consequences for taking your chances. The Covid vaccine doesn’t mean that there can’t be positive tests in the future. This is a valid point, though it’d be foolish for that to be a reason Jackson decides not to get the shot.
The vaccine minimizes the risk of catching the virus. It’s not just about positive and negative tests though. The vaccine is your best chance of avoiding hospitalization. Jackson has caught the virus twice or at least had two tests that have gotten him away from his team.
Like everything goes right now, two sides have formed. There are the people who are angry or frustrated with Jackson for not being vaccinated. Then there are the people who don’t think he should be forced to take the vaccine and that it’s a matter of personal choice.
What Lamar Jackson needs to do when he can:
Jackson is an amazing quarterback and an awesome person. Whatever side of the vaccine debate you are on, changing your opinion about Jackson is unfair. Jackson gives a lot back to the community, and he’s lifted the team and the fanbase with his passion and his energy. One way or the other, Jackson is a person who deserves your respect.
Logistically, Jackson needs to be vaccinated. He’s the quarterback, the leader, and the most valuable player of the Baltimore Ravens. He’s the player the Ravens have built the team around. Every week of the season that Jackson isn’t vaccinated is a week that can get blown up by that liability.
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The start of training camp is the best time for this to happen if this is the last time that it does occur. He’s still missing practice reps. He’s losing his initial chance to build chemistry with Rashod Bateman and get going with a new look passing attack. This isn’t good, there are clear consequences, and yet it’s the best time this can happen in the whole season.
If there is an outbreak due to unvaccinated players during the season the Ravens will forfeit their game. If Jackson tests positive and the game can go on, the Ravens have to play without their MVP quarterback for at least one week. Jackson is the most important player on the entire team and he’s been absent twice for positive Covid tests.
Jackson is the leader of the team a point I’m happy to continually reinforce to make my argument. He’s not just the leader because he’s the quarterback. Jackson is a leader because he’s selfless and the team would run through a wall for him. He is perhaps the most team-oriented quarterback in the NFL and he repeatedly gives everything he has for the Ravens.
Lamar Jackson, here is the bottom line:
Jackson getting vaccinated would be in line with those truisms about him as a person and a player. According to reports, 90 percent of the team is vaccinated. The leader of the team choosing to get vaccinated would make a strong case for that number to get real close to 100 percent.
While it’s important not to force vaccination and personal choice should be respected, it’s also important to live in the reality of the situation. The situation is that the most important player of the franchise can’t justify getting vaccinated, especially because he interacts with so much of the team every practice.
Jackson is the centerpiece of the offense. Jackson getting a positive test at any point is the most consequential a positive test can be for the Ravens.
With all due respect to personal choice, Jackson must get vaccinated. He’s the leader of the team and the action of getting vaccinated would be very meaningful to Baltimore Ravens football. Jackson is the most entertaining and enjoyable player on the Ravens, maybe even in the NFL.
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It’s from a good and respectful place that I say that Lamar Jackson should get take care of himself, be a leader and minimize risk in one decision. He needs to get the vaccination.
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