As the Baltimore Ravens begin training camp, Lamar Jackson is still keeping his fingers crossed that the team will sign Mercurial All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.
“I was hoping we would have it,” Jackson said Wednesday. “I still hope – a little.”
In April, Jackson worked with Brown, who is the cousin of Ravens first-round selection Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Jackson later said he would be “happy” if Baltimore signed the seven-time Pro Bowl draw.
Jackson reiterated his position on Antonio Brown on Wednesday.
“We want to win, and I can say in him [that] he wants to win, “Jackson said.” He wants to play ball. “
Ravens officials have never expressed a public interest in Brown and have repeatedly tried to obscure the situation when asked about Brown, without even mentioning him by name in their responses. In April, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said he would keep his thoughts on Brown “internally.” In May, DeCosta named all of the skill players on the Ravens’ roster when asked about the team’s interest in Brown before adding, “We’re excited about these guys.”
Adding Brown seems unlikely as it would require a major change in Baltimore philosophy. Since 2015, owner Steve Bisciotti has said the Ravens will stay away from players who have experienced domestic violence in the past. It’s a policy that stems from the situation with former running back Ray Rice, which was cut after a video of him hitting his future wife was made public.
Brown has had legal action taken by a former trainer who alleges he was sexually assaulted by Brown on multiple occasions. He was also accused of sexual misconduct at his home by an artist who worked there in 2017.
Last week, Brown wrote an Instagram post in which he indicated he wanted to play in the NFL again and urged the league to resolve its investigation.
Jackson said he never had a problem with Brown.
“I just feel around us that he was a great guy,” Jackson said. “You can’t see anything at all. He’s a cool, down-to-earth guy. He’s passionate about football.”
Jackson was the unanimous NFL MVP last season, leading the Ravens to a league record of 14-2. But the Ravens have one of the youngest wide receiver groups in the NFL. Eight of Baltimore’s 10 receivers are 25 or younger, and no one is over 27.
Brown, 32, was the NFL‘s most productive receiver from 2013 to 2018, leading the league in catches (686), yards received (9,145) and touchdowns (67). But he hasn’t played in an NFL game since the New England Patriots released him after a Week 2 win in Miami in September.
During their pitching session, Jackson was impressed with Brown’s work ethic. According to Jackson, Brown lifted weights before and after their workout.
“There’s no starting with him,” Jackson said. “He’s the kind of guy we need in our locker room. I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room. There is a fraternity going on. None of that outside noise. It’s strictly inside.