Ravens star Lamar Jackson cried when he saw his 'Madden' cover: 'It's unreal'

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Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
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BALTIMORE — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has a long and distinguished football career to be proud of.

After starring at Boynton Beach (Fla.) Community High School, he earned a full scholarship to Louisville. Then he won the Heisman Trophy. Then he was taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Then he helped lead the Ravens to the playoffs in his first season. Then he earned league Most Valuable Player honors in his second.

But as Jackson told former Ravens wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Steve Smith Sr. in an interview the team published Thursday, none of those accolades or accomplishments moved him to tears. “I don’t cry about stuff,” he said. It wasn’t until Jackson saw his cover art for the upcoming “Madden NFL 21” video game that he became emotional.

“That’s been a dream of mine all my life,” Jackson told Smith. “I’ve seen all the greats on (the cover): Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb. … So it’s like, ‘Man, I want to be on there, too.’ And then they revealed to me the cover early.” Jackson said he was taken aback: “Like, ‘What the … ?’ It’s unreal.”

Jackson was less pleased with his player ratings in “Madden,” which is set for release on Aug. 28. But for a lifelong “Madden” fan who earned the nickname “Mr. Video Game” as a young quarterback, the cover honor did what few NFL defenders can: It hit him hard.

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