Organized team activities have begun for the Baltimore Ravens. That means both rookies and veterans are now seeing each other for the first time. Among those meeting for the first time in person were quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson.
The two have seemingly put to rest the rumors of friction between each other. During the first OTA of the 2018 offseason, Flacco and Jackson were shown dapping each other up and exchanging pleasantries in a video posted by the Ravens official Twitter account. Also shown was Robert Griffin III (wearing #3), slapping five with Flacco.
To most people, this is a non-story. It is just a few teammates seemingly happy to see each other and encouraging each other to make plays. That’s what it seems like on the surface anyway. Whether or not it’s like that behind closed doors is another matter altogether.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that with Baltimore drafting Jackson in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, he will be the future starting quarterback of the Ravens. This also means that Flacco’s days in Baltimore are numbered as the starting quarterback. Things were made awkward when reporters asked Jackson if Flacco had reached out to him.
“No I haven’t,” Jackson responded, via Baltimore’s team website. “I haven’t.” After those five words were uttered by Jackson, fans and media members alike took them and went miles. Things were made a tad odder when Flacco didn’t speak to media during the Ravens DraftFest.
“I don’t believe I’m talking today,” Flacco said, per Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun.
Schmuck would explicitly mention that it may have been an organizational decision to keep Flacco out of the way of reporters. That didn’t stop many from speculating the problems that could arise from the two quarterbacks.
One of the most notable people to discuss “the news” that Flacco hadn’t spoken to or called Jackson was Chris B. Brown of smartfootball.com.
Saw the news today that Joe Flacco still hasn't returned Lamar Jackson's calls/texts or otherwise spoken to him. I get the competition factor, but between him and Big Ben can only imagine the media reaction if certain other QBs acted in the way these guys are— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) May 10, 2018
With Brown’s tweet, things blew out of proportion. Fans called into local Baltimore radio stations in anger and confusion, despite having no actual report that stated that Flacco hadn’t “returned Jackson’s calls”. Even if he didn’t, why should he?
These players are competitors — modern-day gladiators, who are looking to stay on the field for as long as possible. Flacco isn’t going to kindly give up his job to Jackson and Jackson shouldn’t expect that. By that same token, Flacco hasn’t been shown to be anything, but a normal teammate to Jackson.
Flacco hasn’t been shown to curse Jackson’s name or make things considerably awkward between the two. On Jackson’s end, he has seemed to be a player that wants to soak everything in. Both players want to fight for a starting position, but they are also going to be cordial with one another.
This is the type of working relationship that fans should expect from both Flacco and Jackson. There most likely isn’t some hocus pocus or some wild conspiracy that the two want to fight each other. Fans and media alike should let the situation develop before reaching conclusions.