Lamar Jackson wants to play Week 17 vs. Steelers

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The Baltimore Ravens locked up the No. 1 overall seed with Sunday's 31-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns. With nothing to play for in Week 17, the Ravens can rest their starters before the New Year kicks off.

Lamar Jackson, however, will lobby to play a little bit in the final week's matchup versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Yeah, I want to play. No doubt," he said Sunday, via the team's transcript. "But it's coach's decision. It's up to coach."

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo previously reported that if the Ravens wrapped up the No. 1 seed before Week 17, the plan was to give Jackson the week off and start backup Robert Griffin III in the season finale.

Not only are the Ravens one of only two teams headed to the postseason not playing for playoff positioning (the Bills being the other), Jackson sitting won't hurt his MVP bid, which is all but cinched with a week left. He also bested Michael Vick's record for most rushing yards by a QB, so that's already on the shelf.

It's natural for competitors to want to compete at every turn. Without that mentality, they'd have washed out long ago. But it's on the coaches and team brass to think clearly about the future.

Mark Ingram's calf injury Sunday should be a reminder to the Ravens that anything can happen at any moment in an NFL game, especially one against a bruising division rival.

"It was very tough," Jackson said of Ingram's injury. "We don't ever want to see that, but we know he'll be good, so we're happy with that. He has time to recover. Hopefully, he'll be better than 100 [percent] and better than ever."

The only question is whether coach John Harbaugh is comfortable with his star players waiting three weeks to play their next game. It could be the case that the Ravens decide to give some starters a few snaps before sending in the reserves. Jackson still shouldn't be one of them, but in the end, Harbaugh insists he's playing to win Week 17.

"The thing I want to emphasize is that no matter what we do, the emphasis is going to be on winning the football game," Harbaugh said. "We want to win the football game. We want that 14th win. There's no doubt about that. We'll be forthright in how we plan to do it."

That plan should include resting Jackson and any other key members for January's playoff sprint that runs through Baltimore.

UPDATE: Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Lamar Jackson will not play in the Week 17 tilt.

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