Lamar Jackson Says Cramps Were 'Probably' Linked to COVID-19, But Mystery Remains

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QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson's cramps on Monday Night Football in Cleveland will go down in Ravens lore.

Thus, there are a lot of questions about what caused the cramps that sent Jackson to the locker room in the fourth quarter – setting the stage for a Superman-like return to save the day in the Ravens' 47-42 victory.

For starters, no it's not the theory that immediately popped up on social media Monday night. Jackson said immediately after the game that he "didn't pull a Paul Pierce" and he reiterated that Wednesday.

"I was real-life cramping, like my hand, my throwing arm cramping, forearm cramping, fingers getting stuck together," Jackson said. "I was going through it. I was ticked off."

Jackson said the virus gave him flu-like symptoms, knocked out his sense of taste and smell, and made him sleep pretty much all day over his 10-day quarantine.

On Wednesday, Jackson was asked directly if he thought the cramping could have been related to having COVID-19. He said "probably."

"Probably because of the body heat," Jackson said. "We were running in the cold – it was so cold out there. That probably had an effect on it as well. But I can't call it."

Head Coach John Harbaugh corroborated Jackson's account, adding that the cramps also spread to Jackson's legs. Jackson tried to play through it and stay in the game, but the cramps "overtook" Jackson's body, Harbaugh said.

Jackson got more salts in the locker room as trainers stretched him out. Harbaugh said the Ravens have people on the sideline that monitor players' hydration and that Jackson was hydrated "quite a bit."

"Who knows. Is it that [COVID-19]? Is it the nutrition, the diet?" Harbaugh said. "It's quite a mystery. I think the doctors are trying to figure all that stuff out, too."

Defensive lineman Calais Campbell talked Wednesday about the difficulty of coming back to play after having COVID-19. He said his bout with the virus was "brutal" and he used the same word to describe his first game back from it against Dallas.

"COVID, it's something that's probably going to bother us for a little bit more," Campbell said.

"I tried to make sure that the other guys that are coming back this week understood that it's going to be different. It's an adjustment. You're not going to be yourself. You're going to feel a little weaker, and you're not going to have the wind that you normally have. But the second week, I definitely [had] a lot more progress. I felt a lot better against the Browns."

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