For the second time in Lamar Jackson's young career, COVID-19 is forcing him to the sidelines.
Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that Jackson is being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on the eve of camp's first practice. Jackson will be sidelined for the start of camp in accordance with NFL guidelines. Harbaugh also announced that running back Gus Edwards is going on the list.
The league's Most Valuable Player in 2019 went through his first bout with the virus in November of last season, when the Ravens suffered an outbreak that forced multiple players to the Reserve/COVID-19 list prior to their Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That contest was postponed twice before it was eventually played on Wednesday, Dec. 2, six days after Thanksgiving when the game was originally scheduled to take place.
After returning from COVID-19 last year, Jackson said he experienced flu-like symptoms and lost his sense of taste or smell for an extended period.
"I wouldn't wish that on anybody," Jackson said after returning to play the Dallas Cowboys last season. "It's not good to have."
Jackson talked about his excitement for training camp and the upcoming season this week on "The Lounge" podcast, and he had prepared diligently, participating in multiple workouts with teammates this offseason in Florida and Arizona. However, dealing with the virus remains a concern for every NFL team.
Speaking on Tuesday before Jackson's positive test was announced, veteran defensive end Calais Campbell said COVID-19 was still on the minds of players, even though the Ravens have a vaccination rate in the 90-percent range among players.
"I think the biggest thing is just trying to make sure that we don't have any big outbreaks and keeping the game safe," said Campbell, who was stricken with the virus last season, but who was vaccinated during the offseason.
"I think 85% of the league is vaccinated. I believe this team is even higher than that. And so, the majority of the guys are going to be able to have the proper protocols. But for the few who feel strongly against it or chose not to get vaccinated, being in the NFLPA – being an executive committee member – my job is to protect them, give them all the rights they can. I'm a fan of the vaccination. I got it for myself, and I will encourage a guy if I think that he wants to get vaccinated, to get more information, and if he doesn't, that's fine."
Jackson's absence will mean more reps for Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley as they compete for the No. 2 quarterback role. Baltimore also signed undrafted rookie quarterback Kenji Bahar.
Edwards' absence means more reps for J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, Ty'Son Williams and undrafted rookie Nate McCrary.