Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to the field on Saturday after missing the first eight practices of 2021 training camp with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. It was the second time that Jackson had caught the virus, as well as had to miss time either practicing or playing in a game for Baltimore because of it.
After Monday’s practice, Jackson spoke with the media, who asked him a plethora of questions regarding his experience with the virus as well as his stance on the vaccine. When asked about how it feels to be back, Jackson detailed a bit about what he dealt with during his most recent bout with COVID, as well as his excitement about being back in the building.
“Man, I was – just like last time – probably fatigued, if anything. I was sleeping a lot, but I’m glad to be back. Ten days being off, I didn’t like it at all. So, I’m just happy to see you guys, see my teammates, see the fans. I’m just glad to be back. It’s over with.”
Jackson also said he “wasn’t doing too good” while he was away from his teammates, explaining that he missed his guys.
“I think I’m mentally handling it well right now. I’m back. I’m feeling good. When I was at home, I wasn’t doing too good, because I was missing my guys, and I [was] watching highlights on Instagram and Twitter. I’m like, ‘I wish I was out there. They’re looking good.’ ‘Snoop’ [Tyler Huntley], Trace [McSorley], they were throwing the ball, flying around. The guys were making great catches. Tight ends working; defense working. It was like, ‘I need to get back out there with my guys. [This] needs to go away.’ So, I’m just happy to be back.”
The quarterback mentioned that he was “heartbroken” after receiving the news that he had tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.
“Like, you know … Again? It was crazy. I was heartbroken, because I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. Right before camp, it was like – not again. Not right now. But it’s over with. It’s over with.”
When asked about if he was worried about getting COVID for a third time, Jackson said he was going to talk to his team to do more research and learn about the vaccine. When a reporter asked Jackson if he might go for the vaccine, Jackson said “we’ll see”.
“I mean, I just got off the COVID[-19] list. I’ve got to talk to my team doctors and try to see how they feel about it. [I’m going to] keep learning as much as I can about it, and we’ll go from there…We’ll see, we’ll see. Talking to the doctors. We’ll see.”
Questions about the virus and the vaccine continued to be thrown out at a rapid fire pace. Jackson was asked about if he was concerned about setting a good example and trying to get more people vaccinated, to which he responded that he wants to inspire kids and the community, but that people will feel “however they want to feel” about certain situations.
“I want to inspire the kids, and I want to inspire the community, but at the same time, things are going to come at you, [and] people are going to feel however they want to feel about certain situations, and you’ve just got to go however you want to go about it. So, we’re going to see.”
Jackson also made it clear that he was going to follow the NFL protocols surrounding the virus as best as he can.
“I’m just going to follow the NFL protocols as much as I can, as best as I can. I’m not worried about it. Last year, [when] I came off COVID[-19], I felt like we did pretty good, and this year, I’m trying to do the same thing, if anything. So, just like I said, I’m just going to follow the protocols.”
The former University of Louisville star was also asked about the decision to get vaccinated or remain unvaccinated, and called it “a personal decision”.
“I feel it’s a personal decision. I’m just going to worry about that with my family. I’m going to keep my feelings to my family and myself. I’m focused on getting better right now. I can’t dwell on that right now – how everybody else feels. I’m just trying to get back into a great routine.”
When looking at NFL protocols, the fact that Jackson was placed into a 10-day quarantine after his positive tests shows that he was unvaccinated. His status has been the root of many debates, but Jackson showed through his answers that he is trying to put the whole thing behind him and move on. However, if a personal decision that Jackson makes causes him to miss any more time on the football field, it could cause a lot more controversy than it already has.
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