Lamar Jackson continues to earn admiration from his peers, for both his talent and his approach to the game.
Jackson is the Ravens' 2021 nominee for the Art Rooney Award, presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
Each team nominated one player for the award, and a panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists from the 32 nominees. Players from around the league will vote on those eight finalists, and the winner will be announced as part of the NFL Honors program during Super Bowl week.
Since entering the NFL in 2018, Jackson has enjoyed great success while playing with an obvious love for the game. He was the league's unanimous MVP in 2019 in only his second season, yet continues to impress the Ravens with a personality that makes him a locker room favorite who puts the team above individual honors.
After playing against Jackson for six seasons and admiring his talent, Ravens offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva has gained even more respect for Jackson as his teammate this season.
"My locker is right next to his – and being able to play with him has been phenomenal," Villlanueva said. "Whatever highlights his talents and his abilities and whatever wins us games, it's what we're willing to do. I enjoy his presence, I love the way he acts with teammates [and] how he brings the whole team together."
Opponents also highly respect Jackson and show it during and after games. This season, Browns edge rusher took heat for dapping up Jackson after a highlight-reel fadeaway touchdown pass. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told Jackson after Sunday's game, "Let me tell you what. You are something else. You are so much fun, and I'm going to love watching you play for a long time. Take care of yourself. A lot of respect."