OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WMAR) — It’s a decision that shifts the trajectory of the Ravens franchise.
For the first time in his career a healthy Joe Flacco has been benched.
Cleared for game action, he’ll backup rookie Lamar Jackson Sunday when the Ravens host Tampa Bay. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh made the announcement on Wednesday.
“My overall thought about it is obviously disappointed that I can’t be part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time,” said Flacco. “It’s obviously going to take some getting used to and you’re not going to get the reps and things like that. You got to be professional about it.”
Flacco said he wasn’t surprised by the decision. He saw the writing on the wall after the team kept winning and playing well with Jackson while he was rehabbing the hip he injured on November 4.
“It’s out of my hands. I got hurt. They drafted Lamar in the first round. At some point something was going to happen between the two of us,” said Flacco.
For the 33-year-old, eleven year veteran, such is life in the NFL.
“Just because I’m not playing doesn’t mean the season comes to a halt and ends. There’s time that I may feel like that but everything keeps going,” he said. “It may move on in a little bit different ways but it moves on without you.”
“Joe’s still part of the team,” said Jackson. “It’s his team still just like it’s mine. It’s our team. All of us together. It’s our team.”
“Joe’s a leader. He’s excited. He’s looking forward to having a role. Every football player wants to have the biggest role they can possibly have. I’m sure Joe’s no different,” added Harbaugh.
Flacco said standing on the sidelines inactive for the past few games has been one of the hardest things he’s had to do in his career. As for his future, WMAR-2 Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner asked him if he has allowed his mind to wander regarding what this move means for him long term.
“There’s plenty of time for that,” said Flacco. “Obviously I think it’s only natural for people to kind of talk to you about that and all that stuff but there’s plenty of time for that. There’s plenty of months in the NFL offseason to think about what it’s going to mean.”
John Harbaugh declined to answer whether he’ll reassess the starting quarterback position on a weekly basis. He said the only thing he’s focused on is this Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers and that Lamar is his starting QB.