CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson says the reason his social media accounts feature a photo that reads “I Need $” is because he loves the movie it came from. It’s not, he says, a message to the Ravens regarding his ongoing contract negotiations before the 2022 season.
Jackson made news on social media this weekend after he changed his Instagram profile picture and the header on his Twitter account to a photo that could insinuate otherwise.
The photo comes from a character in the movie “How High,” which stars rappers Method Man and Redman, named I Need Money, who wears a gold grill on his teeth with the words “I Need $.”
Jackson’s reasoning behind the photo changes: He watched the movie, and wanted to post the photo because he found it funny.
“I don’t know why people are blowing it up. I just saw Bleacher Report post it. They just take anything that’s posted on social media and just blow it up, and try to think for you. I don’t take it too seriously,” Jackson told USA TODAY Sports during Saturday’s fourth annual Funday with LJ event.
“They’re making it seem like I’m talking to the Ravens when I’m not. Our contract discussion is going on already. But it ain’t about that though. I’m not putting my business life on social media. I won’t ever do that. I won’t put my personal life on social media. I’ll show stuff, but I won’t throw subliminal [messages] out. That’s not me.”
Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is hopeful he and the Ravens can agree to a new deal before training camp begins on July 26.
“Hopefully,” Jackson said when asked if he’ll agree to a new deal before training camp. “I’m not going to say ‘yeah’ right now. Hopefully. But it’s God’s timing.”
When asked if he would hold out of training camp until a new deal is reached, Jackson said: “I don’t have that on my mind.”
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Jackson could command a deal in the range of at least $35-40 million annually and at least $150 million in total value.
Seven NFL quarterbacks make at least $40 million annually, while three have contracts worth more than $200 million (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson).
Jackson, who is scheduled to make $23 million in the final season of his rookie deal, did not want to divulge any further details on his contract situation.
“That’s private conversations, and I’m not going to talk about it,” he said.
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Jackson spent his Saturday afternoon throwing and catching passes, and posing for photos with hundreds of children during his event. He could barely step out of his Mercedes Benz G-Wagon SUV before he was swarmed by youngsters.
One child asked Jackson how to be a quarterback like him, and Jackson responded with a life lesson: Focus in school, and listen to your parents and teachers first.
Another child, 4-year-old Bernice Douillard, stood out wearing a black Jackson jersey with a white and black tutu, Ravens-colored socks, and matching Jordan sneakers.
“When she saw him, she said she wanted to hug him, and when he saw her, he hugged her,” her mother Katrina Daniels said. “I love Lamar because he’s from the same hood I’m from. That’s my cousin, that’s my brother from another mother.”
The children followed Jackson step by step as he circled the grass field where he threw passes up to 50-60 yards. He also outjumped them while catching the football so he could throw again.
Jackson lined kids up against each other in 1-on-1 drills, with the Ravens star trying his best to complete passes to them after they drew routes they planned to run on the football.
Jackson will also host a 7-on-7 tournament for local youth football teams on Sunday.
“The smiles on kids’ faces, to make their day, I had a lot of fun myself like all the kids,” Jackson said.
“It’s surreal. I was one of them when I was a little kid, wanting to see my idols come back and give back to the community. It’s great and fun for me.”
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