Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he anticipates star quarterback Lamar Jackson will return to the team for mandatory minicamp next week. Jackson has not attended the team’s voluntary practices so far this offseason.
“I expect him to be here at mandatory minicamp,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not worried about how hard he’s working. I fully expect him to come back in great shape. That’s what he talks about. I’m sure he’s throwing. I’m sure he’s doing a good job. And when he gets back here, we’ll be rolling with Lamar. Right now, we’ll roll with the guys we got. When he gets here, he’ll merge right in with everybody and we’ll go to work with Lamar.”
Voluntary practices began more than two weeks ago. In response to criticism by an NFL analyst about his continued absence at organized team activities, Jackson tweeted on May 27 that he “will be there” but has yet to make an appearance.
Jackson has worked out with Ravens receivers during the offseason, though not in a team practice nor at the practice facility. Players who don’t attend mandatory minicamp without being excused are subject to fines.
The 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has not reached an agreement with the Ravens on a long-term deal, though general manager Eric DeCosta said he remains committed to getting that done. However, DeCosta said negotiations will happen “at Lamar’s pace.”
If Jackson does attend minicamp, his teammates are excited to have their top quarterback back on the field.
“The biggest thing is just ramping up the competition now,” linebacker Patrick Queen said. “We’ve been at this for like five weeks now. Let’s go play football now, knowing we’re not going to have pads on and everything. It’s still good to get true ones versus your true ones.”
With Jackson not present, backups Tyler Huntley, Brett Hundley and Anthony Brown played quarterback at practice. Huntley started four games last season while Jackson sat out with an ankle injury, but he struggled in Wednesday’s practice. Between all the quarterbacks, at least eight passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Other players absent Wednesday included safety Marcus Williams, defensive ends Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses, nose tackle Michael Pierce, cornerback Kyle Fuller, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, cornerback Marcus Peters and outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo.