We need to talk about Lamar Jackson’s injury, and the reaction to it.
I’m still struggling with the audacity of anyone, including you Michael Vick, to say that Lamar Jackson needed to slap a brace on his grade 2 PCL strain and go out there and win the Ravens a playoff game.
This isn’t an MCL, Mike. And even then, that would have presented its own set of risks. I didn’t let my MCL heal properly. I came back too quick, shed the brace too early, and immediately tore my ACL.
When your PCL isn’t stable, your whole leg can fall off like Robert Griffin III’s did, and for a dual threat quarterback, there’s no coming back from that.
Lamar Jackson’s teammates have said that he’s having trouble just walking around the facility. They knew he wasn’t going to play, which was reflected in the fantastic gameplan John Harbaugh put together that had a Tyler Huntley-led offense outperform the defending AFC champions on the road!
Lamar Jackson didn’t let anyone down. He certainly didn’t harm the day-to-day existence of the armchair QB that calls in sick with seasonal allergies, or pretends to have the flu to take advantage of discounted weekday tee times at the local golf course.
We have to outgrow some of the outdated ideas that have permeated and poisoned this sport for decades.
Is the best ability availability? Sometimes. Sometimes the best ability is the most athletic QB the NFL has ever seen being able to be himself. Would you want Randy Johnson on the mound without his slider? Or Aaron Judge at the plate when he’s only able to bunt? Hell no. Why throw Lamar Jackson out on one of the worst playing surfaces in all of football when he’s having trouble walking?
Are some issues of pain tolerance more about a change in mentality? Sure. But one of the dumbest things about this sport has always been that there are 60 year old coaches that stir fiber supplements into their morning beverage to keep their anus from rupturing on the toilet that equate bodily injury with character concerns.
Even last week on this podcast I pointed out that Ronde Barber should be included in this year’s Hall of Fame class in part because he played his last 13 seasons without missing a game. Now I feel the need to clarify that it was a reflection of his preparation combined with good fortune to make sure that people aren’t gleaning that I, of all people, think that physical health makes you a better or more worthy individual.
Believe it or not, the athletes you see on television are just like you. If you’re a construction worker, and you lose your father, you’re not getting thousands of messages from strangers telling you the best way to honor him is to go out and lay a concrete slab.
If you’re a minister and you have pneumonia, no one is questioning your dedication to your faith if you decide to take a Sunday morning at home instead of coughing into a microphone.
If you’re a schoolteacher in the last week of school, and your contract for next year isn’t settled, but you’re not healthy enough to be around the students, no one is going on TV to talk about “maybe you’re not the franchise educator the district thought you were.”
I know not everyone thinks this way, but we need to find a way to get the people that do released from their self-imposed prison of idiocy. Start asking people if they’d want their surgeon or their airline pilot at 60%.
Everyone involved with the Ravens franchise has a job right now because almost every other team, including Baltimore, passed on Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 Draft. If and when they wake up and pay him what he’s worth, they’re going to be relevant and competitive for the next decade.
The idea of throwing the next 10 years out the window for the temporary glory of seeming tough to people with an outdated mindset and zero skin, or ligaments, in the game is completely insane.
It’s even more insane when that mindset is coming from people inside football.
Let that sink in.