What does Lamar Jackson’s travel absence mean? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss Lamar Jackson not traveling with the Baltimore Ravens to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

CHARLES ROBINSON: Let's start with Sunday night, obviously. The Cincinnati Bengals, I mean, I'd have to say they eked it out against the Baltimore Ravens. 24 to 17 at home. Couldn't help but thinking during the course of this game how much different is this if Lamar Jackson's playing this game. We get the news that Lamar Jackson, interestingly, did not join the team on this trip, did not fly with the team. Odd, very odd situation.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, let's just start with that because I think that's a big takeaway here.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

FRANK SCHWAB: Because, I mean, me and you know, and pretty much everybody knows. Unless you have like a concussion or there some serious reason not to travel, especially the franchise quarterback. He's traveling. I mean, he's on the sideline, coaching up Huntley. What do you make of this? To me, and maybe I'm being too dramatic here, this is a blaring alarm that this relationship is fractured. Maybe I'm making too much of it, but that's how rare this is.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Here's the thing, though, Lamar Jackson's silent on social media tonight.

FRANK SCHWAB: That too. Good point. Good point.

CHARLES ROBINSON: He's balling. My guy. He could have said something nice about Huntley. Anything, right? And all we hear about Lamar Jackson, I've never had a reason not believe it, is he's all about his guys, OK? It's not about his contracts. It's not about all this other stuff. Lamar is about his guys.

And yet, these guys are out there. They're fighting. They're clawing. They got a chance here. I'm checking out social media and I wasn't seeing anything. Now, again, not to travel is definitely an eyebrow-raiser. I wrote earlier in the week just about how both sides had kind of botched this entire relationship.

The Ravens really should have never let out how much money they potentially had on the table for Lamar Jackson, and Lamar going at it with fans on social media, putting out the health update the way that he did clearly showcased some oddities going on between he and the franchise. You just don't see that happen.

Has not, since that health update, by the way, at least on his Twitter account, has not had any updates. Nothing else on his Twitter account since putting out the health update. I think this is, when you add up all the stuff that's going on, this little brewing Cold War, and then the fact that they couldn't come to a contract agreement over all this time, I think that there is a very solid possibility we're looking at a tag and trade with Lamar Jackson.

FRANK SCHWAB: The funny thing about Lamar putting that on social media this is my injury, right? Nobody wants to really acknowledge that maybe he really is hurt. Like, everybody thinks this is some kind of a shell game.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think there is a very real chance that he really is hurt. He could totally be like, hey, I'm not feeling great. He said there's swelling and he's like, yeah, you know, I don't got my deal yet. I'm not getting back out there until I'm 100% right. That much could be true. But you know what? There could also be guys sitting there looking at him going it's the playoffs.

FRANK SCHWAB: Right.

CHARLES ROBINSON: It's been how many? Six games.

FRANK SCHWAB: Honestly, Charles, I have a really hard time believing that Lamar Jackson, if he could play, if it's close.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I don't disagree. I know.

FRANK SCHWAB: It's just hard for me to believe.

CHARLES ROBINSON: His rep is that it would not be the decision he would make. His rep is completely counter to this, right?

FRANK SCHWAB: Correct, absolutely. And I think his-- I'm trying to read between the lines, as we all are. His tweet earlier this week updating his health I think was frustration that the Ravens really weren't coming to his defense. The real question I wonder-- I don't know if it's been out there. I didn't see it. I don't know if you know this. Whose decision was it for Lamar Jackson not to be there?

Was it Lamar saying I don't want to travel with y'all? I'm not happy with you guys right now. Or was it the Ravens saying that tweet was really out of line. You just stay home. Because somebody made the call of you're not coming to this game, which again, really, really rare.

CHARLES ROBINSON: A decision was made. Right.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, by who? It's disappointing he wasn't playing in this game, but a lot's going to be uncovered in these next couple of months about this whole situation.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, there's no question. And you're right, it's a really good point that we don't know yet how that decision was arrived at. One fundamental thing that I ended up writing about, and I'm going to write about this whole situation again tonight, the problem when you don't have an agent, though, is when you run into trouble like this, which is contract impasse injury.

Here's what the agent does. In an injury situation, agent says to the media, whoever their sources are, his knee's [BLEEP] up. He can't-- he's not good. He's just not. It's not a contract thing. Like, he's genuinely hurt. And Lamar doesn't have to go out there and do it himself, right? It gets put out. People understand it, right?

Part two of this, probably the more fundamental part that we've now moved on to this injury, but before it's the contract, agents become the flak jacket, right? Like, you are-- the team says we couldn't come to the deal. His agent's a [BLEEP]. His agent's a [BLEEP]. This guy is holding out. Lamar, he's giving Lamar bad advice. That's what an agent serves at that point. They turn into the bulldog, they turn into the protective shield, and the player can be separated, right? For the most part.

FRANK SCHWAB: Right, right, right.

CHARLES ROBINSON: That's not happening here.