AFC North Rumors: Lamar, Clowney, Rudolph

The PCL sprain heard around the world continues to dog Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s Ravens are headed to Cincinnati next week for a rematch against the division-winning Bengals. Yet the question remains: will Jackson be the one under center for Baltimore’s wild-card matchup?

Jackson suffered his knee injury in a Week 13 win over the Broncos. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the former MVP hasn’t practiced since. The initial prognosis saw him sitting out for one to three weeks. Five missed games later and panic is growing as the playoffs approach. To many in the media, it sounded after three weeks that the Ravens had such a simple road to the playoffs that they were simply resting Jackson for an eventual playoff run. But starting a quarterback that hasn’t seen the field in five weeks is far less than ideal.

Jackson has done everything that’s been asked of him in rehab sessions, but his knee reportedly still hasn’t quite felt right, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Rapoport asserts that PCL injuries take a bit longer than MCL injuries and that perhaps, due to Jackson’s explosive and agile nature of play, the standards for being back to 100% are different for Lamar than they would be for other quarterbacks.

Regardless, Jackson indicates that he’s confident he’ll be able to return in the playoffs, even if others involved in the recovery aren’t quite as sure. If Jackson isn’t available next week, a familiar refrain continues as Rapoport reports that the belief is that he will be able to go the following week, should Baltimore advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are a couple of other rumors from around the AFC North concerning the two teams in the division who played their last football of the season against each other today:

  • Browns edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney made headlines when he announced he was “ninety-five percent sure” he wouldn’t return to Cleveland and was sent home by the team. Although a likely change in defensive coordinator could improve his views on returning, Clowney has likely burned those bridges with his reported behavior, according to Mary Kay Cabot of In the team’s October loss to Baltimore, Clowney reportedly told defensive line coach Chris Kiffin that he was hurting after the first series of the game and, as a result, Kiffin only sent Clowney in on third downs for the rest of the game. It was later revealed that Clowney told Kiffin he was hurt because he was upset that the Browns lined him up on the left side over Ravens star tackle Ronnie Stanley instead of the right side with Morgan Moses. If the anecdote is true, a moved like that, which could be viewed as manipulative or petty, would almost guarantee that Clowney’s future was determined in way back in October.
  • During a Q&A with fans this week, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hit on an intriguing note concerning Steelers third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph. A fan inquired about the chances of Rudolph accepting a deal to be the team’s backup in future seasons. Dulac’s response indicated that Rudolph likely doesn’t have “any interest in staying (in Pittsburgh) after the way he was demoted/treated.” This assertion is nothing new from Dulac who posited early in December that Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky may both find themselves in new homes next year.
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