Lamar Jackson didn't prepare a speech for the day when Louisville retired his No. 8 jersey. Jackson spoke from from the heart.
Before Jackson loved the Ravens Flock, he became adored by the Louisville college football faithful. They fell head over heels for a kid from South Florida, and it's clear that love went both ways.
Speaking at halftime of Louisville's game against Syracuse, Jackson showed how much his college journey meant to him, and how special it is to have his jersey retired just four years after he was playing in Cardinal Stadium.
"I just appreciate you guys so much because you've been with me every step of the way," Jackson said. "I just can't thank you guys enough."
Jackson ran through his defining college memories – from throwing an interception on his first play, to winning the Music City Bowl, taking home the Heisman Trophy, beating rival Kentucky, beating Florida State, and "The Leap" in Syracuse.
In three seasons, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards with 69 touchdowns. He also had 4,132 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns on the ground.
In his speech, Jackson noted how many Louisville fans came to see him play against the Bengals in Cincinnati in 2019. He said they made that feel like a homecoming, and he rewarded them with perhaps the best highlight of his NFL career – a 47-yard spinning touchdown.
It was a day full of celebration and tribute to Jackson's astounding college career. He came to Louisville to prove he was a quarterback – and one unlike you've ever seen before. Louisville has now retired just two numbers: Jackson's No. 8 and Johnny Unitas' No. 16.
Congratulations poured in for Jackson, even from NBA mega-star LeBron James.
Louisville beat Syracuse, 41-3, and Jackson joined them in the locker room after.
Check out the scenes from the day when Louisville retired Lamar Jackson's No. 8 jersey.