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Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson says he's focused on getting healthy, not a new contract

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The priority for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is his health, not his contract.

Speaking for the first time since he injured his right ankle on Dec. 12, Jackson confirmed it was a bone bruise that sidelined him for the final four games of the regular season. Jackson, who is entering the fifth-year option in 2022, also indicated there has been no movement on a contract extension.

"We haven't talked about it [a contract extension] yet," Jackson said Monday. "Man, I got to worry getting back right, right now, and getting ready for this offseason."

Jackson's contract status is the biggest question this offseason for the Ravens (8-9), who lost their last six games and recorded their first losing season since 2015. His salary leaps from $1.771 million to $23.016 million in 2022, which is the final year of his rookie contract.

Throughout last offseason, Jackson and Ravens officials expressed optimism that a deal would eventually get done. The only quarterback of the 2018 draft class to sign a new deal thus far is the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen, who signed a six-year, $258 million contract in August.

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is coming off the worst season of his four-year career. He had a career-worst 13 passes intercepted and was sacked a career-high 38 times.

The low point of his season came in a 24-22 loss in Cleveland in Week 14, when Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah dove at Jackson's lower right leg. The Ravens initially described the injury as an ankle sprain and insisted it was a minor injury.

Jackson, who had never missed a game due to injury in his first three seasons, practiced only once in the final four weeks and did so hobbling from drill to drill.

"I wanted to play," Jackson said. "But they shut me down because they said I had that limp. They didn't want me to go out there and hurt myself more. I wanted to play, but I just couldn't."

The Ravens went 7-5 this season with Jackson as their starting quarterback. Baltimore was 1-4 without him.

Jackson, who was named to his second Pro Bowl, is unsure how long the injury will limit him in the offseason.

"They told me it's day-to-day, and hopefully it'll get sped up," he said.

Jackson's 37 victories is the most in the NFL by a quarterback under the age of 25 since 1970. But the Ravens failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017, the season before Baltimore drafted Jackson in the first round.

One of Jackson's goals this offseason is to get the entire offense together so the players "can see things happen before it happens and beat everybody to the punch against us."

"[I want to] try to get those guys all in one unit be together so we can have a real team bonding," Jackson said. "We can start fresh to this upcoming season. I feel like we didn't have that throughout the season. We had everything else, but we didn't have that team bonding coming out of the building. We're going home. I feel like we need to bond more, and it will take a toll over on the season."