Former Cardinals

We Need To Talk About Lamar Jackson

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Now that he was named NFL MVP to add to all of his other accolades and his season is complete for good and all, we need to talk about Jackson.

It’s early February, usually about the time most New Year’s Resolutions get irrevocably broken. But to those Louisville fans who have stopped working out or meditating or are still eating chocolate, I propose a new resolution that we might carry forward into this year.

I resolve to stop dragging Lamar Jackson haters.

I know, I know. We were right and seemingly everybody else was wrong. All of the pre-draft prognosticators, so-called analysts and irate UK fans prophesying Lamar’s coming failures as a quarterback. His need to switch positions to running back or—God help him—wide receiver.

Cards fans watched in silent dread as he fell further and further down the draft. When he had his mother represent him in NFL negotiations.

And we patiently waited for most of the 2018 season as Lamar rode the pine and watched Joe Flacco Flacco all over the place.

And fan memories are long. We can quote the calls for a position switch from memory. Who said he should move to what positon and when. The Bill Polians and Booger McFarlands of the world and all their ilk.

The haters and doubters have been proven wrong dozens of times over by now, and most know it.

Booger apologized profusely on national television, and others have taken to Twitter or ESPN to recognize what they should have known all along.

There are still some holdouts. Professional sports trolls like Clay Travis and even Polian, who was willing to die on his hill so bad that he didn’t vote Lamar onto the All-Pro team.  But pretty much everyone else who had made such statements has retracted them.

And as such they should be forgiven.

And it’s time we realize a certain truth. Questioning whether Lamar would be an effective NFL players was a fair issue going into his professional career. There have been plenty of athletic, mobile quarterbacks who lit up the college game only to flame out in the pros for all sorts of reasons.

He has answered those questions definitively. It’s wrong to think he can’t play now. It wasn’t wrong to wonder if he could play then. Criticizing someone for an opinion they used to have, and have recognized and apologized for, is the kind of thoughtcrime that no one should be prosecuted for.

Flocking to Twitter to @ somebody who thought Lamar should switch to kick returns or retweeting a highlight clip with the caption “Not bad for a running back” may feel good in the moment. But after the 10th or 50th or 7,000th time it looks rather petty.

Will Louisville fans bring this up after Lamar’s first Super Bowl? His eighth? His retirement and enshrinement in Canton? His ascendance into godhood?

Can Lamar himself bring it up? Of course. Such slights have fed the fire of elite athletes for millennia.

Tom Brady was the 199th pick in the draft, and his whole career has been shoving that down the throats of the 31 teams that passed on him.

But we the fans, whose only burden is the weight of newly-purchased Ravens gear on our shoulders?

Surely we can let it go and enjoy the pure video game moves Lamar puts on week in and week out.

And for the love of God, just say nice stuff on Twitter. Or make better burner accounts.

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