It’s January 7, which means I have the honor of wishing Lamar Jackson a Happy Birthday from everyone here at Russell Street Report.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 7, 2022
For many of us football fanatics, Jackson first came into our lives with a viral clip from his time playing for the Boynton Beach Bengal Tigers, giving fans a taste of what was to come at the University of Louisville and later with the Ravens.
🤣🤣Thatz Love💜🖤 https://t.co/Gk6evFgzMY
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) January 7, 2022
Several school records, a Heisman Trophy and a franchise-altering trade followed by an iconic draft night interview later, Jackson is now the most important player on the Ravens and one of the best, most exciting players in the entire NFL.
"Bro, you're in your mid-20s now."
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) January 7, 2022
And he’s still just 25 years older, younger than the likes of Joe Burrow, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, with three postseason appearances and an NFL MVP trophy under his belt. As Jackson himself would say, not bad for a running back.
Jackson means so much to Baltimore beyond just his play on the field. His interaction and engagement with the fanbase makes you feel connected to Baltimore’s franchise quarterback, and his constant efforts to give back to the community are certainly laudable.
Plus, he does stuff like this…
Happy birthday to the main man, Lamar Jackson 🤝 pic.twitter.com/IvrNB99isD
— Ramey (@HoodieRamey) January 7, 2022
Lamar Jackson on IG (new_era8) shared it’s his daughters first birthday. Adorable♥️ pic.twitter.com/8dYYZmIbct
— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) January 4, 2022
…that reminds us that he’s a regular guy who loves his family and likes to have fun, too.
Jackson’s birthday isn’t the only thing to celebrate this weekend, either. Several veterans, including Justin Houston and Calais Campbell, could be leaving the team after this season, and one other name stands out as a Ravens legend: Jimmy Smith.
“You really have to take it all in.”
CB Jimmy Smith talked about enjoying the moment before what could potentially be his last NFL game.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 6, 2022
Smith is one of the players that defined the 2010s in Baltimore, from his Super Bowl goal line stand to his veteran leadership of a Ravens secondary that has developed into one of the league’s best (when healthy).
Happy birthday to the man who made back to back plays to help secure the Super Bowl victory
One of the most underrated Ravens of all time. Happy birthday Jimmy😈 pic.twitter.com/m5WaHvF3Cc
— RavensFlock20 (@Bateman_Szn12) July 26, 2021
Sure, there will be plenty of focus on Big Ben’s farewell (featuring T-Sizzle) and T.J. Watt’s and Mark Andrews’ respective record-breaking efforts, as well as the still-relevant playoff implications of the game, but I hope we also give the departing vets, especially Beans, their due.