Mike Preston: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is a superstar under constant control. It’s only natural.

There’s always drama surrounding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

That’s the nature of the position, especially when you’re the face of the organization and an NFL Most Valuable Player candidate. When he missed training last week because he was struggling with chills and fatigueThe question was whether Jackson should play against the Chicago Bears?

He did not.

This week, the question is whether Jackson is 100% Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns?

The investigation never stops.

“No, I’m not in favor of that, to be honest with you,” Jackson said of being under the microscope. “I do not buy into it all.”

Well, that’s not going to stop. Some of the drama is unwarranted, and something Jackson has brought upon himself. There’s also the added element of notoriety because he fits Baltimore’s personality of rooting for the high priest or being an underdog.

That was not the case with New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath in the late 1960s and 70s. He longed to be in the spotlight wearing fur coats, making pantyhose commercials and guaranteeing the biggest win in NFL history. There have been other quarterbacks who have attracted national attention because they are weird and never grow up, like Green Bay’s Brett Favre and the Packers’ latest flag, Aaron Rodgers.

In contrast, Jackson is the opposite.

According to some team leaders, he does not read newspapers or watch ESPN. He does TV interviews, but mostly because he has to as a team representative. For the most part, Jackson is quiet, reserved, well-liked, and respected by his teammates, but there are intrigues because he is so gifted and young.

Of course, he has also had coronavirus twice.

Maybe if he had confirmed that he had been vaccinated there would not be so much scrutiny of his recent cold-like symptoms, but that interest is unlikely to end until the pandemic is over. Until then, there will be a constant drama when he misses training.

“It happened, but I’m not worried about it because I’ve been healthy all my life,” Jackson said earlier this week. “I’ve never had a problem being sick before [came] here. So I do not really know what it is, but hopefully it is done with, if anything.

Maybe. It would not have been such a big deal if he was Joe Smith, a third-string tight end from Nebraska. But he is Lamar Jackson, the 2019 MVP, the only person who is more evasive than Houdini.

So therefore, there was talk about how Jackson curled up in a blanket on his flight to Chicago, and about how he slept the night before the Bears game. And then there was the video of Jackson slowly entering the stadium, just as when the cameras caught him running to the locker room during the Cleveland game last year to take care of some seizure problems.

And do you remember how Jackson came out on the field and delivered a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and then helped set Justin Tuckers game-winning 55-yard field goal with two seconds left?

It was as if someone had written a script for an old Hollywood western, and Jackson came out with guns in the final showdown.

The drama never stops.

Look at Jackson’s contract situation. He has no agent and negotiations have dragged on. There are some fans who want this resolved and his job at Ravens secured far into the future.

But no, that makes too much sense. Let’s first call in a team from “Entertainment Tonight”.

Maybe we all just got used to former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who had two emotions: boring and dead. Now we’ll see Jackson make a flip into the goal zone against the Kansas City Chiefs after watching Flacco struggle to slip his entire career. In any case, there were no complaints of a back injury several days later.

More drama.

At Jackson, there is more concern about what he does during the season than he gets smashed by a 300-pound defensive lineman on game day. In March 2019, he posted a video of himself driving 105 mph. In May 2020, there was Jackson in a video that jumped during a beach soccer game and falls over a nearby jet ski.

During this low season, there were footage of Jackson taking reps at wide receiver and defensive back on a basketball court while involved in contract negotiations that could pay him more than $ 40 million a year.

It’s living on the edge. Call it what you will, but he fits Baltimore’s psyche. Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner, fell all the way to the final pick in the first round of the 2018 draft. When he came out of Louisville, there was criticism that he was more of a runner than a pitcher and that his mechanics were poor.

Although Jackson has proven that many people make mistakes, media members still talk about how Jackson has shown he can come from behind and win against quality opponents. In fact, it’s time to bury that “not bad for a quarterback” theme.

It’s all part of the Baltimore intrigue, but let’s not forget that Jackson is only 24 years old. He’s expected to catch a cold and do really, really stupid things. He has probably lived in a box most of his life and he is going to step outside those boundaries.

And when he does, there will always be drama because he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Some of it is unnecessary, but some of it is brought upon him himself.

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