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NFL news: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson responds to criticism over training absence

Lamar Jackson has not been pictured taking part in the organized team activities in Baltimore, but the 25-year-old has defended his decision to train alone.

As the preparations heat up ahead of the new NFL season, most sides have started their new training programmes.
But while the majority of the Baltimore Ravens roster have been pictured training at Owings Mills, Maryland - franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson is yet to make an appearance.
With the 25-year-old entering a crucial contract year with the Ravens, many have criticised his absence from training, but Jackson fired back at his critics on social media, claiming that the current training remains voluntary.
After facing criticism from former quarterback Chris Simms, who claimed Jackson wanted to be the Tom Brady of his era, the Ravens star replied "Lamar wants to be Lamar Chris."
"This part of OTAs is voluntary, I will be there, just not on your watch it's probably other QBs not attending Voluntary OTAs either but since it's Lamar it's a huge deal.
"Find something else to talk about."
The Ravens will be hoping to improve on a poor 2021 season that saw them finish bottom of the AFC North.
Having helped the Ravens to the playoffs in all of his three previous seasons there, it was the only instance where Lamar and his side missed out on the postseason.
But Jackson still has plenty of potential left to fulfil, and after winning NFL MVP honors in 2019 and earning two trips to the Pro Bowl in his career, the Ravens will be hoping to extract some more from their star quarterback when the new season starts in September.
The Ravens start their season on the road, facing the New York Jets on September 11. Hopefully by then Jackson is back training with the side full-time.

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