What NFL MVP Lamar Jackson does to stay mentally tough amid pandemic

What NFL MVP Lamar Jackson does to stay mentally tough amid pandemic

While self-quarantining amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Baltimore Ravens’ star quarterback Lamar Jackson has been passing the time playing video games, working out and posting funny video clips on his social media accounts.

(A video he Jackson retweeted on April 18 of his former University of Louisville teammate Jaire Alexander reacting to Jackson’s 2018 NFL draft even caught the attention of President Donald Trump.)

But in recent weeks, Jackson, 23 — who was named the Most Valuable Player in the NFL last year after setting a new league record for most rushing yards by a quarterback — has started to get back into football mode. 

“Quarantine keeps me off the field, so I’ll be in the backyard just throwing the ball,” Jackson tells CNBC Make It, though throwing long distances has been “tough” to do while self-isolating at home in Baltimore, he says.

The 2016 Heisman trophy winner says he’s also has been keeping up with his workouts by talking with his coaches and trainers via Zoom.

However the 6-foot-2-inch, 212-pound quarterback credits his yoga and Pilates practices with keeping him mentally tough.

“Before Covid-19, I was doing it twice a week. I was doing yoga twice a week and Pilates twice a week,” Jackson says. 

Now he does yoga and Pilates at home using an app.

“It makes life go better. It makes your days better,” Jackson says. “[The workouts] relax your muscles and your mind. It lets you mind breathe.”

Last week, Jackson also announced that he is teaming up with sports technology company Status Pro to develop a first-person virtual reality game called “The Lamar Jackson Experience.” The new product, which is expected to be released in the fall, will give users the experience of what it’s like to play pro football through Jackson’s eyes.

“I have fun playing it. It’s a workout. You sweat,” Jackson says after testing out the game. During the interactive game, users will move, throw and rush yards just like Jackson does on the field.

Lamar Jackson playing his new virtual reality game, “The Lamar Jackson Experience.”

Courtesy: Status Pro

Jackson, who is entering his third season with the Ravens, says he is starting to create side businesses because he knows he can’t be a quarterback forever.

“It’s been my dream to be in the NFL and I want to play as long as possible, but you know football is not long-lasting,” he says. 

His goal is to create a legacy for his future kids and their kids too. 

In fact, he’s already taking care of his family.

When Jackson signed a four year $9.47 million contract with the Ravens in 2018, the first thing, he did was buy a home for his mother and manager Felicia Jones, his three younger brothers and himself. (Jackson’s father died of a heart attack was he was 8.)

Jackson says he choose his mother as his manager and decided to forgo an agent before the 2018 draft because “no one knows [him] better than she does.”

“I didn’t want to put my life in [someone else’s] hands, I would rather put them into hers,” he says.

Jackson also considers himself a “budgetor” and doesn’t really like to spend money.

“That’s not me and that will be never be me,” he says.

As for advice for the new NFL rookies coming in, Jackson says its important to surround yourself with the right people, especially financial advisors. 

“Also, thank God first and be you,” he says. 

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