OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson returned to Ravens practice on Nov. 24 and said he is going to play in the big AFC North showdown between the Ravens (7-3) and Cleveland Browns (6-5) at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 28.
Jackson missed this past week’s game against the Chicago Bears after dealing with an illness that sidelined him for all but one practice last week. The Ravens beat the Bears, 16-13, as backup quarterback Tyler Huntley led the team on a game-winning, 72-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes.
Jackson, who is 36-10 as a regular-season starter in his four-year career, ranks in the top 10 this year in both passing yards per game (ninth, 271.9) and rushing yards per game (fourth, 71.0).
Speaking to the media at his weekly news conference, Jackson said, “I’m feeling good. … Positive, certain. No relapses. We’re good.”
Jackson had practiced last Friday after missing the previous two workouts, leading to speculation that he would be good to go against the Bears. He wasn’t even listed on the final injury report. But his illness returned the next day, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey said Jackson was so ill on the team flight to Chicago that he hadn’t even realized the plane had landed.
Asked Wednesday if he was 100 percent ready to play this week against the Browns, Jackson said, “Yeah, for sure” then added with a smile, “120 percent.”
Jackson has missed practice time in three separate weeks this season because of illness. He missed two practices one other week while nursing a sore back. Jackson tested positive for COVID twice, once last year and then again in training camp this year, and he said he didn’t know whether his multiple bouts with COVID made him more susceptible to illness.
“I don’t know,” Jackson said. “That’s a good question, though. You’ve got to ask one of the trainers about that. I don’t know.”
Despite Huntley’s last-minute heroics in Chicago, getting their franchise quarterback and league MVP contender back is critical for the Ravens as they begin a crucial three-game AFC North stretch.
After facing the Browns on “Sunday Night Football,” the Ravens will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 5 and then travel to Cleveland for a rematch with the Browns a week later.
“No matter how you slice it, there’s a lot of football to be played,” head coach John Harbaugh said, “and what’s going to happen is going to be determined by how we play the rest of the way.”
BROWN, WILLIAMS RETURNS TO PRACTICE; FOUR CORNERBACKS SIDELINED: Wide receiver Marquise Brown (thigh) and defensive lineman Brandon Williams (shoulder) returned to practice Nov. 24 after missing the Bears game, but the Ravens were without four cornerbacks. Jimmy Smith (hip/neck), Anthony Averett (thigh), Tavon Young (foot) and Chris Westry (thigh) all missed practice.
Averett missed the Bears game, and Westry made his first career start in his place but got burned on a double-move by Marquise Goodwin for a go-ahead, 49-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a young guy,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s learning. … You make the corrections, and you go play the next play. They say corners have to have a short memory. Well, there you go.”
In addition to the four cornerbacks, other absences for the Ravens included offensive tackles Patrick Mekari (ankle) and Cedric Ogbuehi (thigh), fullback Patrick Ricard (hip/foot), wide receiver Miles Boykin (finger), defensive lineman Calais Campbell (concussion) and outside linebacker Justin Houston, who received a vet day off.
HARBAUGH SAYS MCSORLEY DEPARTURE WAS “BITTERSWEET”: Harbaugh said it was “bittersweet” to see quarterback Trace McSorley signed off the Ravens’ practice squad by the Arizona Cardinals. McSorley, beaten out by Tyler Huntley for the Ravens’ backup quarterback job this summer, was in his third year with the Ravens but had spent the entire season on the practice squad. He was elevated to the game day roster with Lamar Jackson sidelined, but he did not play.
In 2.5 seasons in Baltimore, McSorley played in three games and went 3-for-10 as a passer for 90 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown throw to Marquise Brown at Pittsburgh last year.
“It’s bittersweet,” Harbaugh said. “Trace has been tremendous. … Love being around him. He’s a pro. He’s a great guy, and he’s good for our team. That’s the bitter part of it. The sweet part of it is it’s a great opportunity for him.”
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