Be­yond speed and con­fi­dence, Ravens quar­ter­back Lamar Jack­son suc­ceeds with per­son­al­ity

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

At some point ev­ery week, Lamar Jack­son strides across the Ravens’ locker room and plops him­self be­side soft-spo­ken wide re­ceiver John Brown. They laugh and share videos on their iPhones — no big deal. Re­mem­ber, how­ever, that Brown is a vet­eran on a one-year con­tract, try­ing to pro­duce well enough to se­cure his fi­nan­cial fu­ture. Since Jack­son took over as the Ravens’ quar­ter­back in Week 11, he’s caught just eight passes. In the team’s first nine games with Joe Flacco at quar­ter­back, Brown caught 34.

This could be a recipe for ten­sion. In­stead, Jack­son and Brown pal around. It’s a pattern that has re­peated through­out Jack­son’s rise from his Florida youth to star­dom at Louisville to the cur­rent stage he oc­cu­pies as the rookie starter for an NFL play­off team. His in­stinct for reach­ing out to peo­ple is as sharp as his in­stinct for evad­ing tack­lers.

“We’re all we got, re­ally,” he said as the Ravens be­gan prepa­ra­tions to host the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers to­day. “When peo­ple doubted us in the mid­dle of the sea­son, we were all we had. Peo­ple didn’t have our back, so I’m go­ing to talk to my team­mates re­gard­less, whether it’s the kicker, the punter. It can be an equip­ment guy, and I’m go­ing to talk to him, too, def­i­nitely.”

When you watch Jack­son, it’s easy to be mes­mer­ized by his video-game cuts or his un­canny ten­dency to de­liver sen­sa­tional plays im­me­di­ately af­ter he’s made mis­takes. His en­thu­si­asm shines through in so many of his ac­tions on the field.

But what if his se­cret weapon man­i­fests out­side the realm ad­mir­ers and skep­tics ob­serve ev­ery week? Maybe it’s just as im­por­tant that Jack­son is a nice See JACK­SON, page 4

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