BALTIMORE - Lamar Jackson might have captured the attention of the sporting world, but the Ravens quarterback seems intent on keeping his private life off the record.
Since his high school football days, Jackson and his family have maintained a relatively low profile, frequently declining interview requests from local and national media outlets. The 22-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner and current MVP betting favorite rarely shares details about his life outside of football.
As the young quarterback's profile continues to rise in tandem with the Ravens' success, here's a sampling of what we know about Jackson, based off prior reporting, his social media presence, his apparel brand and a recent trip to his Florida hometown.
Jackson's innermost orbit consists of his mom, brother and sisters. Though Felicia Jones has rarely spoken to the media, we know from Jackson that his mother has played a strong part in his player development since his youth football days, running drills with him, helping him study the playbooks and even representing him as his manager ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, a move that some sports commentators criticized. The family now lives together in the Baltimore area.
In a video message Jackson received the night of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson's mom and brother appeared together to voice enthusiasm and support for their son and sibling.
"You make my life special," his brother, Jamar, said, choking up and wiping away tears as he touched on Jackson's rise from their backyard to the NFL. "Whenever you're away from me, I just always want to talk to you."
His brother also spoke of the family's tough times, including the death of their father and grandmother within 24 hours when Jackson was 8.
"2005, our life changed," Jamar Jackson said. "I wouldn't know what to do without you."
Football weaves a common thread in Jackson's extended family, as well. Jackson's cousin, Trayvon Mullen, plays for the Oakland Raiders.
Jackson grew up in Pompano Beach, Florida, and attended Santaluces High School before transferring to Boynton Beach High School in the spring of his sophomore year. He played little during his first year in high school and sat on the bench for the entirety of his second season, but seemed to find his groove at Boynton Beach.
Though he has paid tribute to his native Central Broward County in his apparel line, he said recently that "it's not like a place you would go visit."
His nickname, "Action Jackson," dates back to at least his Boynton Beach days, with former teammates recounting how his dynamic style of play created highlight reel-worthy clips even back then. Many friends and former teammates joke that watching Jackson's highlights from Ravens games reminds them of some of the on-field magic he produced as a teen. One such clip from 2014, in which Jackson evades a tackle and walks effortlessly into the end zone, has been shared widely via YouTube and the now-defunct Vine.
Jackson continues to work with his longtime personal quarterback coach, Joshua Harris, whom the family befriended in Pompano Beach. The park where he once played football as a boy now features a display in his honor.
Before committing to play football at the University of Louisville for college, Jackson hoped to boost his grades and win a state championship, according to a newspaper clipping he shared on Instagram in 2016. He also considered Auburn, Florida State University, University of Central Florida and West Virginia University, according to the clipping.
Some of his closest friends, or, at least, the ones who most often frequent his Instagram, appear to share his Florida roots. Such companions include rapper Kodak Black.
As kids, Jackson and fellow Raven Marquise Brown played Pop Warner football together, though on different teams. The two Floridians are often spotted together before and after games. Jackson, a "mentor" to Brown, reached out to him during the predraft process last year.
Property records show that one Owings Mills home belongs to a Florida-based LLC owned by Felicia Jones, who continues to act as her son's business manager. The 5,445 square-foot home features a pool, wood floors, a first-floor master bedroom suite with an attached sitting room, walk-in closets and a three-car garage. The LLC purchased the property in July 2018 for $900,000.
Located about 20 minutes away from the Ravens' practice facility, the home was built in 1996 - a year before the quarterback was born.
Many Ravens players live in Baltimore County, purchasing sprawling abodes in Owings Mills or neighboring areas, perhaps because of the proximity to the practice facility. Former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith previously lived near Jackson's current residence.
Many professional athletes prefer to stack up endorsement deals to round out their personal brands, but Jackson's business acumen led him to pursue a different venture. The quarterback has his own clothing brand, Era 8 apparel, which he appears to help oversee.
The clothing line features sweatshirts, T-shirts, tank tops and fleece shorts, some marked with Jackson's jersey number or catchphrases such as "Not bad for a running back" and "Action Jackson."
Era 8's "Wild Dog" collection showcases an assortment of clothing items depicting the unique, endangered canines, which are native to Africa and are often shot or poisoned by farmers there, according to the website. The designs "exemplify the unique beauty of ... (t)hese beautiful creatures (that) are not only bold in their appearance and nature but also energetic, intelligent, community oriented, cooperative and joyous," according to the site.
The Era 8 Instagram channel has amassed nearly 16,000 followers since its launch in May. Jackson often shares photos and videos of fans who promote his apparel line.
In March, Jackson did receive some unwanted recognition after posting to Instagram a video that showed him driving 105 mph with a passenger in the car who was not wearing a seatbelt. He issued an apology for the incident on Twitter, pledging to set a better example in the future. This came just a few months after Jackson pleaded guilty to a traffic violation, for which he had to pay a $100 fine.
Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!