Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady don't communicate often, but their respect for each other is clear.
After Brady briefly retired during the offseason, the seven-time Super Bowl champion tweeted a message to Jackson basically passing him the torch.
Brady's return after his brief retirement means another date with Jackson when the Ravens visit the Buccaneers this week on Thursday Night Football.
Jackson has only faced Brady's team once during his career, back in 2019 when the Ravens rolled to a 37-20 victory over the Patriots during Brady's last season in New England. Jackson had a superb night, completing 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Brady completed 30 of 46 attempts for 285 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
Afterward, Brady and Jackson gave props to each other when they shook hands at midfield.
Jackson's main focus Thursday will be moving the ball effectively against Tampa Bay's defense, but his admiration for Brady is clear.
"I don't play against Tom Brady. But he's the 'G.O.A.T.' [greatest of all time], man," Jackson said. "I'm always playing against the defense, not the quarterback, so I'm going into every game the same way, the same mentality. I just want to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do to win."
Jackson said he appreciated Brady's retirement tweet and hopes that being "next" means the Ravens will be playing in February.
"Hopefully I'm next to win the Super Bowl," Jackson said. "He's got seven of them, so, hopefully, that's what I'm next to – that's what I was hoping."
Jackson Does Hip Wiggle to Show He's Feeling Fine
Jackson was not listed on Monday's estimated injury report after the Ravens held a walkthrough. However, he appeared on the injury report last week (hip) before he played in Sunday's game, which raised the question of how he was feeling this week.
Jackson gave a non-verbal response that answered the question, wiggling his hips and drawing laughter from the media.
"I think it's pretty good now," Jackson said.
Kyle Hamilton Taking 'Next Step'
Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton played 35% of the defensive snaps against Cleveland and made a splash play, beating backup Browns right guard Hjalte Froholdt with a swim move to tackle Jacoby Brissett for Hamilton's first career sack.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was pleased with Hamilton's timing and takedown on the play, and sees the first-round pick taking more advantage of his talent and versatility in coverage too.
"He was in a specific role, that kind of dime position, and also playing the nickel position in certain groupings that we're in," Harbaugh said. "He really was into it; he matched up sometimes in terms of man coverage, and when he did that, he did well. He played an overall real good game. It's kind of what we were hoping for. It's a big step for him, and he'll keep building on that."
Jackson Frustrated When Drives Stall in Red Zone
Though he was happy to get the win Sunday, Jackson was not pleased that the Ravens settled for two field goals to open the game and only scored three points in the fourth quarter. Jackson said putting opponents away and finishing drives with touchdowns once they reach the red zone must continue to be points of emphasis.
Jackson believes Baltimore's offense will become extremely potent if the red zone issues are ironed out.
"I feel like this whole season we've been driving the ball down the field; it's just been the red zone or a little bit outside the red zone, and we've just got to finish there," Jackson said. "But we're making progress. Like I said yesterday, we don't want 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] kicking field goals for us and for that to be our points. We want seven points each and every time we're out there on that field. It's NFL football, so it might not happen how we want it to, but we've just got to keep going."