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John Harbaugh still expects Lamar Jackson to be the Ravens quarterback in Week 1

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday morning, Lamar Jackson sent shockwaves around the NFL universe when he announced via Twitter that he officially requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens back on March 2.

At the same exact time he tweeted this, Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh was just beginning to field questions from the media during his press conference at the NFL owners meetings. Despite Jackson’s apparent desire to play for a different team in 2023, Harbaugh displayed optimism that Jackson would still be wearing purple and black next season.

“I do,” Harbaugh said, when asked whether he thought Jackson would be the Ravens’ starting quarterback come Week 1. “I’m pretty fired up about Lamar Jackson . . . can’t wait to get back on the grass and go to work, and I’m confident that’s gonna happen,” he continued.

Harbaugh went on to say Jackson’s situation was strictly “monetary” rather than him not liking Baltimore or the organization. He also said the team was building their new offense under coordinator Todd Monken with the expectation Jackson will be the quarterback, while preparing for contingency plans as well.

“I’m getting ready for Lamar,” Harbaugh said. “We’re in the lab right now building the offense . . . that train is moving fast, but when Lamar gets back onboard that train, he’s fully capable of jumping on full speed.”

Furthermore, Harbaugh stressed the business-side of the situation, highlighting how Jackson is still under contract and the numbers can “be figured out.” Evidently, Harbaugh is not willing to wave the white flag when it comes to Jackson’s tenure in Baltimore and the longtime head coach believes there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s not easy to envision at this point, given Jackson and the Ravens have been unable to strike a long-term deal for over two years in negotiations now. In his tweet, Jackson said the Ravens have “not been interested in meeting [his] value.” Things can certainly change, but the likelihood of Jackson truly being the Ravens’ starter in Week 1 wouldn’t be awfully high at the moment.

Harbaugh wasn’t the only Ravens’ staffer to express confidence in the team’s ability to work something out with Jackson. Team President Sashi Brown echoed Harbaugh’s sentiment when addressing reporters, too.

“We love Lamar Jackson,” Brown said. “We’re committed to getting something done.”

Chances are there’s plenty of Ravens fans who feel or at least hope that Harbaugh and Brown’s optimism proves to be correct, and that Jackson and the organization change course to work something out.

Only time will tell from here on out.