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'No Way' Lamar Jackson Could Play vs. Bears, As Ravens Have Strange Injury Week

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (8)
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (8)

Lamar Jackson was not close to playing Sunday against the Chicago Bears, as Head Coach John Harbaugh shed light on the star quarterback's illness after the team's 16-13 comeback win behind backup Tyler Huntley.

Harbaugh said Jackson was not pushing him to suit up against the Bears.

"There was no way he could play. He knew it," Harbaugh said. "There was just no way he was going to be able to play."

That determination wasn't made until Sunday morning, however, at the conclusion of a weird week of injuries – even by the Ravens' 2021 standards.

Jackson missed Wednesday and Thursday's practices but returned Friday and seemed ready to go. Jackson told reporters he was "feeling great" on Friday.

But on Saturday, Jackson woke up ill again. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said Jackson was "curled up in a ball" on the flight to Chicago and was so out of it that he didn't even realize when the plane had landed.

The Ravens still held out hope that Jackson would feel better on Sunday, but when he woke up, it was even worse.

"He just got sick again. He kind of went right back to where he was on Tuesday and Wednesday with all the symptoms that he had," Harbaugh said.

"You've all been sick before. All the congestion and all the other stuff that goes with it. He had it and he had it yesterday. He had it on the plane. He didn't go to the meetings at night. We thought he'd wake up this morning maybe feeling better but he didn't; he felt worse."

Harbaugh said he got a text from Quarterbacks Coach James Urban early Sunday morning that "it wasn't good and it didn't look good." Harbaugh remained hopeful, but as Tyler Huntley was walking to get on the team bus departing for Soldier Field, Jackson texted his backup that he was out.

Even though he had seen how bad Jackson was, Huntley was still surprised.

"Lamar, he's a tough soldier, so I'm thinking he's going to play regardless," Huntley said. "He could be breaking out in a sweat and I feel like he's going to play."

Harbaugh said Jackson will fly back with the team, but whatever he has is still a bit of a mystery.

"They tested. There's no influenza, there's no COVID, so I don't know," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure if he doesn't clear up they'll keep testing, but I've got to think it's going to clear up. We'll pray for that. … Nobody is going to get too close to him would be my guess."

Jackson's illness wasn't the only mystery of the week. On Friday, cornerback Anthony Averett (thigh) was added to the injury report. Fellow cornerback Jimmy Smith popped up with a hip/neck injury. Neither was able to play against the Bears.

Wide receiver Marquise Brown (thigh) sat out two practices but returned Friday and was listed as questionable to play. He was strangely ruled out a day later.

"There's been so many crazy things happening this year, nothing is really too crazy. But this week was actually strange," Humphrey said. "One of the guys who got hurt [in practice last week], I was standing right next to him, and he just got hurt. Literally, it just seemed like out of nowhere.

"All these game-time decisions ended up not going in our favor. So, it was definitely weird. It was very tough. But I think once we got to pre-game, everybody kind of knew, 'Hey, this is who we've got, this is all we need.' And we went from there."

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