Lamar Jackson Takes Center Stage at Pro Bowl
Lamar Jackson has charisma, making him naturally entertaining in front of the camera.
During the season, he mesmerized defenses with his jukes and spin moves, and often found receivers in the back corners of the end zone.
In short he was a human, highlight reel.
His genuine personality also came to light during his sessions with the media, often highlighted by a cacophony of laughter and good-willed bantering.
This week, Jackson took center stage at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla. He was mic'd up during practice and had some several light moments with teammates.
In once instance in the video above, he appears to break the sunglasses of teammate Ronnie Stanley. It was not a shrewd move considering Stanley protects Jackson's blindside as the Ravens' left tackle. Jackson later denied breaking the glasses, but the video might say otherwise. His expense account might not cover a new pair of shades for Stanley.
Jackson also joked about going full-speed during a walk-through. He promptly warned some of his teammates about Earl Thomas, who employs the same strategy.
Finally, Jackson takes a moment to sprint toward a group of fans watching practice with many of them wearing his No. 8 Ravens jersey. The crowd erupted as Jackson got closer, which underscores his growing national popularity.
His Ravens jersey and personal clothing line completely sold out in the days leading up to Christmas.
The popularity stems from Jackson embodying a new era for NFL quarterbacks with his ability to beat teams multiple ways. In just his second year, Jackson had one of the best seasons in the history of the NFL.
Jackson already received the Most Valuable Player awards from the Pro Football Writers of America and the Maxwell Football Club. In 2019, Jackson completed 265 of 401 passes for 3,127 yards and an NFL-high 36 touchdowns, which was also a franchise record. Jackson finished with 1,206 yards rushing — sixth best in the league and the most by a quarterback in NFL single-season history.
Jackson is the only quarterback in NFL history to produce at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. He is also just the third quarterback in league history to produce at least 35 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in a season, joining Steve Young (1994) and Cam Newton (2015), both of whom won MVP honors after accomplishing this feat.
There is already excitement building for 2020 and Jackson is already preparing for an encore performance.
"The things that he needs to work on, like any young quarterback, he’ll say ‘Everything.’ And it’s true," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "And then you prioritize, what’s the order? What’s the plan going to be moving forward to work on those things? And he’s really smart about that. He’s really self-critical. He really understands where he needs to improve in order for us to keep making steps as an offense. It’s really interesting to look at Lamar Jackson, because look at the progress he made in the last year."
In addition to starting as quarterback for the AFC, Jackson will also participate in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.