The status of Lamar Jackson (knee) is one of the main storylines heading into the Ravens-Steelers matchup in Week 17. However, with Baltimore (10-5) competing for the AFC North title and the highest playoff seed possible, Head Coach John Harbaugh is keeping information about health-related issues close to the vest.
Harbaugh was asked Monday if he thought Jackson would return to practice this week.
"We'll just have to see," Harbaugh said.
Jackson has missed three straight games, and this is the second consecutive year that he has dealt with a late-season injury. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 14 last year and the Ravens lost their last six games after an 8-3 start.
This year, Baltimore has clinched a playoff spot, and with two regular season games remaining, Harbaugh was asked if he was still optimistic Jackson would play again this season.
"Sure, of course," Harbaugh said.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Jackson could return to practice this week. However, Rapoport also reported the same last week.
In other injury news, Harbaugh said he did not think the injury suffered by backup cornerback Kevon Seymour was season-ending.
"There's nothing that's been portrayed to me that's been any kind of season-ending [injury] or anything like that," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure we'll have more information on that as we go."
Jerry Rosburg Reportedly Takes Over as Broncos Interim Head Coach
Jerry Rosburg, Harbaugh's close friend and Baltimore's longtime Special Teams Coordinator (2008-2018), has been named the Broncos' interim head coach.
The Broncos announced Monday that first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett had been fired, coming off their embarrassing 51-14 loss to the Rams in Week 16. The Broncos (4-11) have struggled offensively all year, averaging 15.5 points per game, their lowest since 1966.
Hackett hired the 67-year-old Rosburg out of retirement in September to aid with game-management decisions. Rosburg was one of the NFL's most respected special teams coaches during his tenure with the Ravens and has been one of Harbaugh's coaching mentors.
"Obviously a lot of respect for Jerry," Harbaugh said before the Ravens defeated the Broncos. 10-9, in Week 13. "He's filling a valuable role over there for those guys [and] doing a great job. Once a Raven, always a Raven."
Flex Scheduling Puts Ravens-Steelers in Primetime in Baltimore
The Ravens haven't hosted the archrival Steelers in primetime since 2013, but that will change in Week 17 when Baltimore hosts Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. The NFL announced Sunday that the Ravens-Steelers game had been flexed from a 1 p.m. kickoff to 8:20 p.m. on Jan. 1 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Harbaugh said the team did not worry about whether the game would be flexed, and remained focused on playing its best football
"It's just kind of what the league does," Harbaugh said. "You just expect that they'll have a time slot for you to play, and you get ready to go play in it. So, we're looking forward to it. Obviously, it's a very important game for both teams. We understand what's at stake; we understand the dimensions of it and the challenge of it, and we're looking forward to it."
Ravens Remain Among Least Penalized Teams
The Ravens played a clean game in Week 16 despite the frigid conditions, called for just one penalty during their 17-9 victory over the Falcons. Baltimore has the fourth-fewest penalties in the NFL this season with 73, with only the Falcons (61) and the Rams (70) having fewer through 15 games. The Chargers had 68 penalties through 14 games heading into Monday Night Football against the Colts.
"There have been very few games where we've had a lot of penalties," Harbaugh said. "We're a team that plays with good technique, with good poise – most of the time. Obviously, it's not perfect all the time, but I've been pretty pleased with that all year."
Baltimore's one penalty in Week 16 was a pass interference call against Pepe Williams in the third quarter. Baltimore challenged the call, arguing that the pass was tipped before Williams made contact with the intended receiver. However, the penalty was upheld after review.