Lamar Jackson tests positive for COVID-19, misses opening practice of Baltimore Ravens' training camp

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Lamar Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19, sidelining the star quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens' first practice of training camp Wednesday.

It marks the second time that the former NFL MVP has tested positive for the coronavirus in the past eight months.

Jackson reported to camp last Thursday and tested negative for five straight days before receiving a positive result Tuesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. Unvaccinated players are subject to daily testing, and vaccinated players are required to get tested once every 14 days. The NFL had flagged Jackson's latest COVID-19 test and was still trying to process and evaluate the results as of Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"It's just part of the deal," Harbaugh said after Wednesday's practice. "It's just the way the world is right now."

Harbaugh announced that running back Gus Edwards also tested positive for COVID-19. Although Harbaugh declined to say how long Jackson and Edwards would be sidelined, unvaccinated players are required to be isolated for 10 days. The Ravens play their first preseason game in 17 days.

The Ravens' player vaccination rate is at 90% and rising, according to Harbaugh. The entire coaching staff had been vaccinated by minicamp last month.

With Jackson absent from practice, Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley took the majority of the snaps at quarterback. McSorley had one of the best practices, connecting on several deep throws. Kenji Bahar, who spent time with the Ravens in minicamp, has been re-signed and worked out as the third quarterback.

"It's no different than if somebody gets an injury -- you tweak an ankle and you're out for some number of days," Harbaugh said. "It's just part of football. To me, whenever you have a problem or whenever something comes up like that, you embrace it and you almost kind of rejoice in it because it's an opportunity to improve somewhere else."

Jackson, 24, tested positive for COVID-19 last Thanksgiving and missed the Ravens' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 2019 league MVP was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list less than two weeks later and returned for Baltimore's next game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jackson was one of 20 Baltimore players who spent time on the reserve/COVID-19 list last season, as the Ravens endured an outbreak from late November to early December during which at least one player tested positive on 10 consecutive days.

Now, as the Ravens open training camp, COVID-19 is once again a storyline for the team.

"I trust every man in this building to take care of one another," said wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, one of Jackson's closest friends on the team. "When hiccups like this happen, all you can do is rally around that guy. Send our prayers and send our support. Hopefully, he'll be back very soon.

"For me, I'm just trying to take every step to be safe in myself and come play football."

Jackson has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his first three NFL seasons, compiling a 30-7 regular-season record as the starting quarterback. He passed for 2,757 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season and has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.