Lamar Jackson recalls humorous draft visit with Bill Belichick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Before starting his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Lamar Jackson spent time in Foxboro with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
Jackson visited the Patriots ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, when New England owned two first-round picks at No. 23 and No. 31 overall. With Tom Brady entering his age 41 season, Jackson was considered his potential successor if he fell to the bottom of Round 1.
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Ahead of Sunday’s Patriots-Ravens showdown, Jackson shared a fond memory of his pre-draft visit with Belichick. The former Louisville star remembered seeing a different side of the usually-stoic Patriots head coach.
“I saw Coach Belichick smile,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “Usually I see him and he [has a] straight face. When I saw him smile, I was like ‘Dang, you’ve got humor.’ I told him that. He was like, ‘Yeah.’ I’m like, ‘I wasn’t expecting you to be smiling.’ “
Belichick’s smile is a rare sight, but he’ll let it show every once in a while when he enjoys a discussion. It seems that’s why Jackson was able to see it during his time at Gillette Stadium.
“Great visit. We spent a lot of time with him,” Belichick said of Jackson on Wednesday. “Really interesting guy.”
The Patriots ultimately passed on Jackson, selecting offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn at No. 23 and running back Sony Michel at No. 31. The Ravens drafted Jackson one pick later at No. 32 overall.
Jackson has since earned NFL MVP honors in 2019 and two Pro Bowl nods. Belichick eventually found his Brady successor in Alabama product Mac Jones, but we can’t help but wonder how a Jackson-led Patriots offense would have looked over these past few seasons.
Patriots vs. The Ravens are set for 1 pm ET Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Both teams enter the Week 3 matchup with a 1-1 record.