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Chris Ballard on Lamar Jackson: Anytime a special player is available, you’ve got to do the work

Mike Florio and Chris Simms analyze how Lamar Jackson potentially would fit in Indianapolis and assess how likely the team would be to actually make the move.

Is there finally a team interested in Lamar Jackson?

After the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, several teams leaked that they did not have any interest in the 26-year-old quarterback.

The Colts, however, did not. And the team reportedly had not ruled out pursuing Jackson.

Now Indianapolis General Manager Chris Ballard has made the most significant statement of potential interest in Jackson from any other team at the annual league meeting in Arizona.

“Anytime a special player is available, which he is, you’ve got to do the work,” Ballard said on Monday, via Stephen Holder of ESPN. “I’m not gonna get into deep discussions on where it’s at or what we’re doing or what we might do.

“But what I’ll tell you is he’s a really good player, really special player. But you never know how any of this will work out.”

The Colts have been through a parade of quarterbacks since Andrew Luck retired in 2019. They’re set to go into their sixth consecutive season with a different opening-day starter, dating back to Luck’s last full season in 2018.

“I think anytime at that position we have a chance to acquire a guy, you’ve got do your work on it to see if it’s doable,” Ballard said. “Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.”

While that’s not Ballard directly coming out and saying that the Colts will pursue Jackson, it’s certainly leaving open the possibility more than any other team since the quarterback became available.

Indianapolis has the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, which will likely leave them without one of the top two passers in the class. That could make the Colts more likely to get involved in the Jackson sweepstakes.

Moreover, Ballard had an up-close view of one of Jackson’s best performances in the last few years. In 2021, the QB helped lead Baltimore back from a 25-9 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Indianapolis 31-25 in overtime. Jackson had three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter/OT, finishing the game 37-of-43 passing for 442 yards with four TDs and no picks, though Jackson did lose a fumble.

From what head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday, the Ravens clearly still intend to have Jackson as their quarterback in 2023. But Ballard’s comments make Indianapolis worth monitoring as Jackson continues to be available.