21-year-old Lamar Jackson will make NFL history when he steps onto the field for the Ravens in a playoff game against the Chargers on Sunday.
As reported by The Baltimore Sun, Jackson will start at quarterback for the Ravens AFC wild-card-round game, making him the youngest-ever QB to start a playoff game.
“I’m trying to taste that victory for my birthday Monday,” Jackson said, per the team’s official website. “I can taste it!”
“Coincidentally, Jackson is attempting to break the record of another scampering quarterback, Michael Vick, who was 22 years, 192 days old when he ran over the Green Bay Packers in 2003 at Lambeau Field, becoming the youngest signal-caller to win a playoff game. Vick was in his second season.”
“It really doesn’t [matter to me],” Jackson said of his age. “I’m here to play football. I was 21 all year, so this is another game for me.”
Jackson was 7 years old when Michael Vick sparked his curiosity about the possibilities of playing quarterback in the NFL.
“My first Madden game was 2003, but I played with Michael Vick in 2004, and he was out of control,” he told reporters last spring when the Baltimore Ravens drafted him in the first round, The Undefeated reports.
“Just watching him on a video game and watching him on TV and seeing what he did, what he brought to the table with his team, winning games for Atlanta, it was like, ‘Man, I want to do some of the things he did on the field.’ So I would go out there on a little league game on a Saturday and try to do the same things and emulate what he did. He has been a big influence on me.”
Vick was 22 when he led Atlanta to a playoff win over Green Bay in 2003. Jackson will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Jan. 7.
“Lamar’s maturity has impressed me greatly. He’s very mature,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I think you guys see it — you see it when you interview him, players see it when he walks around. Like I said before, he’s very comfortable with who he is. That’s a sign of maturity for sure.”