The Ravens coaches and scouts were shaken by the recent news of Asa Jackson’s second suspension in as many years, allegedly for using Adderall, a drug used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The drug is also widely used in colleges and universities to help students cram for exams. The drug heightens focus and clarity and has been referred to as the “Beautiful Mind” drug by some. It’s been said that some coaches around the NFL take Adderall to heighten their in game focus on the sidelines.
But back to Jackson, according to his agent Kenny Zuckerman who was reached by telephone by our partners at Comcast Sports-Baltimore Friday afternoon, the Ravens corner had obtained a therapeutic use exemption from the league to take Adderall for a medical condition.
The rub for the league is that Jackson had not obtained the exemption before testing positive.
“You got to follow the rules,” Harbaugh said following Friday’s practice. “You don’t follow the rules, you get suspended. That’s a fair rule. There’s no place for that. He’s getting what he deserves.
“As far as what it does to our corner depth, that’s one less corner that we have.”
Fans have cried out for Jackson’s head and want the Ravens to sever ties with the speedster from Cal-Poly who has had a solid camp so far this summer. Perhaps many are jaded by baseball’s issues with PED’s and unfairly lump Jackson in with those abusers.
Jackson has claimed that a doctor who no longer on the Ravens staff, didn’t submit the exemption paperwork to the NFL offices in a timely fashion triggering the new 8-game suspension. While that may be true, ultimately the responsibility falls on Jackson’s shoulders. Not the alleged departed doctor, his agent or anyone else – particularly on the heels of a 4-game suspension last season.
But is it enough to just discard Jackson completely?
Sure it was a careless mistake that could put his career in jeopardy but it’s not hard to see it as an innocent one. It’s not as though he’s been flagged for using other PED’s to bolster his physicality.
So once he does his time, why not wait it out for the 8 weeks, assuming of course Jackson proves he’s worth the wait during the next 4 weeks.
“Time will tell,’’ Harbaugh said. “He doesn’t count against your 53-man roster. What he needs to do is have a good camp, and make us want him back after eight weeks. It will be a big challenge for him. We talked about it quite a bit and he’s up for the challenge.”
We’ll see what Jackson is made of, and if he holds true to his word.
“I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, and Ravens fans. I look forward to working hard in training camp and preseason, training hard during the discipline period and contributing to the team immediately upon my return.”
Given his pedestrian salary by NFL standards ($480,000), nearly half of which will be lost to the suspension, it’s worth waiting on Jackson and to see what kind of player, what kind of man emerges when he’s eligible to return on November 4.
The learning experience coupled with his clearance to use Adderall could be enough to bring greater dedication and more consistency.
The team’s patience may prove to be a small price to pay for a player who has shown explosiveness at times.
Remember, right player, right price!