Ravens’ Lamar Jackson defends coach John Harbaugh’s call to play him in fourth quarter

1:25 PM ET

  • Jamison HensleyESPN Staff Writer

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    • University of Maryland graduate
    • Lives in the Baltimore area with his wife and son

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson defended coach John Harbaugh’s decision to not pull him earlier in the Baltimore Ravens‘ season-opening 38-6 blowout victory over the Cleveland Browns.

With the Ravens ahead by 32 points with 10 minutes left, Jackson remained in the game and dropped back to pass three times, getting sacked once. Harbaugh removed Jackson one series later with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t have any preseason games,” Jackson said Wednesday. “That was my first time getting tackled since January, so I felt we needed that. Coach knows what he’s doing. It is what it is. You can get hurt at any time. I’m good. I came out of the game 100 percent. So, it’s fine.”

Last season, the Ravens ran out to so many big leads that Jackson sat out the entire fourth quarter in two games and played only half of the fourth quarter in two other instances.

On Monday, Harbaugh didn’t second-guess his choice to leave Jackson in until late in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not going to just react to every criticism,” Harbaugh said. “We could take him out of the game at halftime, too. That might keep him safer, too. But we’re not going to do that.”