Lamar Jackson is back from his second bout with COVID-19 and is happy to return to the Ravens before the start of their preseason slate.
His time away did not come without frustration.
"Again?! It was crazy," Jackson said when asked how he reacted to the news he'd caught COVID-19 a second time. "I was heartbroken. Because I wasn't looking forward to that at all, right before camp, it was like 'not again. Not right now.' But it's over with."
Jackson first became infected with COVID-19 in November 2020, right in the middle of a desperate playoff push for the Ravens. His infection came as a result of an outbreak among Ravens players, which forced the postponement and rescheduling of their Week 12 game against the Steelers deep into the following week, eventually playing the game with a depleted roster on a Wednesday.
Jackson returned for Baltimore's following game, a 34-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Once infected a second time, Jackson was forced to isolate at home while his teammates began training camp without him. These moments only added to his disappointment.
"When I was at home I wasn't doing too good because I was missing my guys," Jackson said Monday. "It was like, man, I need to get back out there with my guys."
Jackson has not said he'll get vaccinated despite twice being infected with the novel coronavirus.
"I feel it's a personal decision," Jackson said, via ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "I'm just going to keep my feelings to my family and myself. I'm focused on getting better right now. I can't dwell on that right now ... how everybody else feels."
The debate regarding vaccination rates and the competitive advantage of vaccination has dominated much of NFL teams' sessions with reporters, and while the league has stated it has reached a vaccination rate of 90 percent with its players, Jackson is among the notable players still holding out.
It sounds as if he'll continue to avoid getting vaccinated, at least for now.
"I got to talk to my team about this and see how they feel about it," Jackson said. "Keep learning as much as I can about it. We’ll go from there."
Despite his stance, Jackson doesn't seem completely decided on the matter.
"We'll see," Jackson said when asked if he's considering getting vaccinated. "Talking to the doctors."
For now, Jackson is glad he's past his latest bout with COVID-19. We'll see if his conversations with doctors change his mind.
In the meantime, he's turned his focus back toward preparing for the 2021 season, a campaign in which the Ravens are again expected to contend for the AFC North title. Their chances rest heavily on the availability of their star quarterback.