January 7th is Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 24th birthday. Born just after the New Year in 1997, the signal-caller has broken three records in college and the NFL for being the youngest player to reach certain milestones (read Fun Fact #7 for more on that). His meteoric rise to NFL stardom has led to some pretty interesting glimpses into the soft-spoken and often private life of No. 8. With that in mind, here are the eight facts you need to know about No. 8 Lamar Jackson on his 24th birthday.
1. Lamar Jackson is 38th highest paid NFL QB
Making just over $2.5 million this season, Jackson is ranked as the 38th highest paid quarterback in the league. Nine teams are paying their backup quarterbacks more money than Jackson is making: Cowboys, Colts, Saints, Raiders, Texans, Bears, Browns, Dolphins and Chargers.
In QBR this season, Jackson ranks 7th in the league with a 73.9. Only Packers Aaron Rodgers (84.4), Chiefs Patrick Mahomes (82.9), Bills Josh Allen (81.7), Titans Ryan Tannehill (78.7), Dolphins Ryan Fitzpatrick (77.3) and Saints Drew Brees (74.5) are ranked higher.
Jackson signed a four-year deal after being drafted 32nd overall in the 2018 NFL draft with an average annual salary of $2.38 million. His contract has a 5th-year option, so the quarterback isn’t eligible for free agency until 2023.
2. “Big Truzz” written in permanent ink
In 2019, Ravens teammate Mark Ingram nicknamed Jackson “Big Truss.” The name essentially means trusting your teammates to have your back. The phrase was already trademarked, so Jackson changed the S’s into Z’s and trademarked “Truzz.” The quarterback even tattoo’d it across his chest in April.
Jackson also filed for trademarks of “The Lamar Jackson Experience,” “Era 8 by Lamar Jackson,” “Not bad for a running back” and “You are going to get a bowl out of me, believe that!” Jackson’s clothing brand, Era 8 Apparel, currently sells a sweatshirt with “Not Bad For a Running Back” written across the chest.
3. Kid likes to eat
When Jackson won the Heisman Trophy at Louisville in 2016, he celebrated with chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. And just a few months ago, the QB let everyone in on his pregame ritual.
“Shrimp Alfredo, that’s my meal before the game,” Jackson told CNBC. “They say [pasta] helps your brain. I feel like I go out with a level head and I can think.”
A quick search will tell you that 2 cups of the pasta dish will run you almost 1150 calories, with 79 grams of fat. But if it works, it works.
4. Went viral out of high school on vine
Before Jackson burst onto the scene at Louisville, he was largely unknown coming out of high school– except for one viral video. The video (posted to a popular social media app Vine) shows the QB pulling up to dodge a diving defender before casually walking into the end zone.
According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Jackson was considered a three-star recruit and wasn’t getting attention until his junior season. He went on to play for Louisville, won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 and the rest is history.
Can you believe this is the same kid who will start his third NFL playoff game in his first three seasons in the league?— Allie Berube (@allieberube) January 7, 2021
From three-star HS recruit to 2019 NFL MVP playing in his third playoff game in three years, Lamar Jackson is must-see TV. pic.twitter.com/cSvIgb1JZd
5. Mom is his manager & Jackson represents himself
Jackson’s mom has always had his back. The story goes that in Jackson’s freshman season at Louisville, Jackson was asked to field punts after practice one day due to his dynamic speed. That night Jackson’s mother, Felicia Jones, called the Louisville coaching staff to remind Head Coach Bobby Petrino of the promise he made Jackson to only play him at QB.
So when Jackson was looking at a potential first round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, he chose to represent himself with his mother as his manager, a relatively unprecedented move for such a highly-touted NFL prospect.
6. Played Pop Warner against Marquise Brown
Growing up in Boynton Beach, Florida, Lamar Jackson crossed paths with many future NFL stars in Pop Warner, including current teammate Marquise Brown. The WR grew up in Hollywood, FL (hence the his nickname “Hollywood” Brown), so the now Ravens teammates played on different teams. The pair is often seen together before and after practices and games.
7. Young phenom is the youngest QB to start an NFL playoff game & win league MVP
In his rookie season in 2018-19, Lamar Jackson became the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game at 21 years, 364 days old. The Ravens lost 23-17 to the Chargers. Michael Vick holds the record for the youngest quarterback to win a playoff game at 22 years, 192 days old in his second season with the Falcons 2003 victory over the Packers 27-7. Jackson has willed his team to the playoffs in all three of his NFL seasons, but currently holds an 0-2 record ahead of Sunday’s wild-card matchup against the Titans.
When Jackson was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player after the 2019-20 season, he also became the youngest quarterback to win the award at age 23.
(He was also the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy at just 19 years, 337 days).
8. Jackson is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
While his career is just getting started, he’s already got a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His jersey and helmet worn during the 2019 NFL season are in the Pro Football Today Gallery to commemorate his MVP season. He was just the second player in NFL history to win by a unanimous vote, joining former Patriots QB Tom Brady in 2010.
Recently received at the Hall: a jersey and helmet worn by QB @Lj_era8 during the 2019 @NFL season. These will go on display later this month in our Pro Football Today Gallery to commemorate Jackson's MVP season.@Ravens | #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/SHBSTVlFUq— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) February 20, 2020