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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Lamar Jackson returned impressively to the Baltimore Ravens and received positive reviews after his first training session in the offseason.
Jackson looked comfortable and had good speed on his throws, and teammates expressed excitement at seeing him on the field for the first time in six months.
“I think everyone knows Lamar, he’s what drives our team,” Raven’s tight-end Mark Andrews said Tuesday. “The energy around him who’s here lifts everyone up.”
Jackson, who is scheduled to speak to reporters Thursday, skipped all three weeks of volunteer training before reporting Monday. He has not given a reason for his absence.
The last time Jackson was on the field with Baltimore was on December 29, when he tried to practice with a pronounced lameness. He missed the last four games with a right ankle injury as Baltimore for the first time since 2017 failed to make it to the playoffs.
Tuesday, it seemed like old times with Jackson. He moved around well, threw his usual side-arm passes, and often came in contact with Andrews, including on a 30-yard pass while on the run. Teammates noticed that Jackson’s passes were tight spirals and had some extra zipper on them.
“He’s physically in very good shape. I thought his arm looked really good,” Raven coach John Harbaugh said. “You can see that he has thrown a lot. You can see that he is in good physical condition. It is nice to have him out there. He also boosted everyone’s mood.”
Jackson seemed comfortable on the field despite not attending the nine previous training sessions. There was only one case where the team had to crawl again because there was confusion around a game.
But what made Jackson most upset was throwing two interceptions to the safety of Tony Jefferson.
“He’s a competitor,” Harbaugh said. “He’s mad about some passes here and there.”
Jackson is entering his fifth year option, which will pay him $ 23.016 million this season. If the sides are unable to reach an extension by March 7, Baltimore is expected to place the franchise mark on him.
“He’s the ultimate pro,” Raven’s defensive end Calais Campbell said. “He prepares and handles his business the way you should. Just being a young guy, he’s so mature. He understands how to do things the right way.”
The Ravens also announced that they reached an injury settlement with defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and will release him. This comes a day after Wolfe announced he had had his second hip operation this year.
Wolfe was solid in 2019 when the Ravens won 14-2. But he was out of the game all of last season with hip and back injuries.
“So it will be with that,” Harbaugh said of Wolfe.