Joe Flacco might not have been happy with the decision, but he came to grips with it long before the end of yesterday’s game.
So even as fans were booing his replacement and hoping he might return, the longtime Ravens quarterback bid what is likely his farewell to Baltimore by watching Lamar Jackson stage a late comeback attempt.
“We made the decision what was going to happen here weeks ago,” Flacco said, via Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun. “I just really wanted to see the guys turn it up a little bit and make a play of it, which they did.”
Flacco wasn’t interested in getting into the what-ifs about last night’s game, but it has been made clear that they’ve staked themselves to Jackson, with coach John Harbaugh mentioning after last night’s game that he anticipated a health market (i.e. a decent return in trade) for the former Super Bowl MVP.
Flacco said “there’s no doubt about” his belief that he wants to and can start elsewhere. But after 11 years, he knows his time in Baltimore is coming to an end.
“I love the people of Baltimore,” he said. “It’s been 11 years, and you come in and you feel one way and you don’t know what to expect, but the people warm up to you, you warm up to the people, and to be honest with you, I can’t imagine a better 11 years with this place becoming my home, my children’s home and just how many different life changes I went through and how much we won here. I’m not from too far up the road, and the people here are a lot like the people I grew up with. Definitely a group of fans and a community that I love to be around.”
And that includes the guy who took his job, who Flacco counseled through the game and the aftermath.
“Everybody was talking to him. I told him, ‘Hey, just tell everybody to shut up,’ at some point,” Flacco said of Jackson. “I just told him, ‘Listen, finish strong. At some point, you’re going to be proud of how you finished, no matter what happens, and this is all part of it, dealing with this situation right now. And it’s still a game. So go out there and do what you can to get us back in it. Handle yourself the way you would like to see yourself handle the situation,’ and I thought he did that.”
And now Flacco gets to wait to find out his next destination, and the way he handled his demotion and departure will be something he gets to be proud of as well.