Lamar Jackson’s 23 years old, and already has a Heisman Trophy and an NFL MVP on his resume.
So while the Ravens’ quarterback is clearly a big deal, he doesn’t act like one, and if he’s getting used to the idea of being a star it’s happening slowly enough that the people who work with him see little evidence entering his third season.
“I know he’s always communicating with guys, that’s just his way,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told Albert Breer of SI.com. “The great thing about Lamar is he doesn’t change. He’s gonna be himself. He’s not gonna get caught up in any of the hype. He’s humble. He’s very hungry. He wants to be a better player. He knows he’s got a lot to learn. He pushes his guys big-time, he pushes them at practice, he competes against the defense really hard. He’s real demonstrative out there, he wants to win every play, and I think the guys really respond to that.
“That’s what they love about him, he’s so genuine, he doesn’t change. He knows more football. He’s had some hard knocks, he’s gone down in the playoffs a couple times, those are real experiences that you grow from, that callous you, that toughen you up. That’ll only make him a better leader.”
Last year’s playoff exit might have been bitter, but he’s determined to build on what he achieved, despite an offseason that didn’t allow as much on-field work or traditional training methods. Jackson said he’s getting more confident in the Ravens Offense, to the point of speaking up, which isn’t necessarily his nature.
“I’m not outspoken in the meeting room,” he said. “I don’t know why, it’s just never been me. I just let coach do his thing. I just learn what I’m supposed to do and help out if I can. But yeah, I’m getting comfortable, which is why I’m expressing myself sometimes.”
That kind of low-key approach is typical of Jackson, who cited his faith as the reason he doesn’t allow the attention to become overwhelming.
“The Lord,” he said. “You know, he put me in this position. And I’ve always been humble before I was in this position, so it don’t make sense for me to get here and just start acting out of character, or not acting like I’ve been there before. When I won the Heisman in college, I didn’t really look at that like it was a big deal either. But to everyone else it was. Same with the MVP. I’m just a humble person. I just chill.
“I don’t really look at stuff like other people do.”
He doesn’t do stuff on the field like other people do either, which is why he’s one of the special players the league has seen.