Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Lamar Jackson's absence from OTAs: 'It's for him to talk about'

It's May 25, and Lamar Jackson still isn't close to signing a contract extension.

We're traveling a well-worn road at this point, but an important one. The Ravens have built much of their offensive identity (and franchise as a whole) around Jackson and his special talents, but they can't guarantee he'll be on the team beyond 2022.

As was the case in March, Jackson still doesn't seem too interested in discussing an extension. He's not in attendance for Baltimore's organized team activities, either.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh fielded questions about Jackson's contract situation and absence from OTAs on Wednesday. He had almost nothing to say on the matter.

"I'll just let Lamar speak for himself on that," Harbaugh said, via ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "It's for him to talk about."

Despite its surface appearance, the Ravens don't seem to be too worried about Jackson's absence. The quarterback doesn't stand to gain all that much from OTAs outside of starting to build a rapport with his new starting center, Tyler Linderbaum, rookie tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely, and a half-dozen new faces at receiver. Working out on his own isn't groundbreaking, nor would it damage the franchise's immediate chances of success.

"I know Lamar and I've talked with him. I know how hard he's working," Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said, again via Hensley. "He's extremely motivated and extremely hungry. So there's no worries over there.

"We're all working and doing our job here and getting ready for him. We'll be ready to go and I'm confident that he's going to be ready and show everybody what he's got and the type of hunger he has right now."

It is notable, though, when considered alongside the lingering lack of long-term security, primarily because this uncertainty isn't going away until a new deal is in place. Jackson has every right to both lean on his past accomplishments and bet on himself in this, a contract year, but don't think for a second these questions are just going to vanish in October, November, December and especially once we reach 2023.

The news of Jackson's absence, then, isn't really news -- it's just a byproduct of the ongoing contract situation. The lack of movement on the matter, however, continues to be significant.

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