BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lamar Jackson will start as quarterback for the Ravens this Sunday when they face the Buccaneers, despite Joe Flacco being cleared to play.
Coach John Harbaugh made the announcement Wednesday, saying Flacco will suit up Sunday, but that Jackson will start.
“Every decision is based on making us the strongest possible team we can be,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Whether it’s quarterback or defensive line, that’s the bottom line. That’s what it boils down to. That’s how we feel about this decision, and we’re rolling.”
Flacco, 33, said he was “disappointed” that he’s now the backup quarterback, but he’ll do what he can to help the team win.
“I’m obviously disappointed I can’t be part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time,” Flacco said. “I can’t say I was surprised.”
He said his time off the field recovering from the hip injury was “very tough for me.”
WJZ Sports Director Mark Viviano asked Flacco if he’s gotten support from his teammates.
Flacco told WJZ they’ve moved on. He learned that three years ago when his knee was injured.
The game goes on without you, he said.
Flacco is now the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL.
The last time he was a backup quarterback was at the University of Pittsburgh 14 years ago. He left Pitt to start at the University of Delaware.
Flacco has been a starter for the Ravens since his rookie season in 2008. He’s played in 163 games, starting each one. He was also named Super Bowl MVP in 2012, when the Ravens beat San Francisco.
“There’s a very good chance that we’re going to need Joe Flacco and any other backup player to win us a game,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody is a starter in the National Football League. That’s the way it is.”
Viviano said it’s safe to say Flacco will move on after his 11th season with the Ravens. Where would you want to see him go?
When Jackson was asked whether he considered the Ravens his team, he said, “It’s our team, all of us together.”
This story is developing. Stay with WJZ for the latest.