Lamar Jackson doesn't travel with Ravens to playoff game vs. Bengals

Lamar Jackson wasn't on the sideline for Baltimore's playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Just before kickoff, NBC's Melissa Stark reported that Jackson didn't travel with the team to Cincinnati.

Jackson's absence from the active list was expected. The Ravens quarterback all but ruled himself out on Thursday with his lingering knee injury before Baltimore made it official Friday. His injury didn't preclude the franchise quarterback from joining his team for a playoff game.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 11: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) looks on during the national football league game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 11, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson traveled with the Ravens for a road game against the Steelers while injured. He wasn't in Cincinnati on Sunday. (Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jackson's absence is glaring amid a contract impasse that lingered through the regular season and exacerbated as he remained sidelined with his knee injury. Jackson injured his left knee on Dec. 4 against the Denver Broncos. Head coach John Harbaugh initially designated Jackson as week-to-week with a PCL strain on Dec. 6. He was expected to return during the regular season.

Jackson remained sidelined for the rest of the regular season as the Ravens went 2-3 in his absence while fighting for playoff positioning. Then came Jackson's announcement Thursday that his injured knee remains "unstable," implying that he would miss Sunday's playoff game, which Baltimore lost, 24-17.

Jackson made the announcement independent of the Ravens, who had not yet made a statement regarding his playing status.

As the Ravens ruled him out the following day, Harbaugh maintained hope that Jackson could return this season in the instance the Ravens advanced past the wild-card round.

"Lamar's working as hard as he can," Harbaugh told reporters. "The trainers are working as hard as they can. That's where we're at. Can't wait for him to get back, just like everybody else. That's where we are at with that. He won't be playing in this game, and we're hopeful for next week. We'll see where we're at then."

Tyler Huntley started against the Bengals after missing last week's season finale with shoulder and wrist injuries. Jackson, presumably, was watching from somewhere.

Jackson was on the Ravens' sideline while injured during a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 11. He wasn't Sunday as his future with the franchise remains murky. He'll enter the offseason without a contract while the Ravens hold the option of using the franchise tag to retain control of his services.