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Lamar Jackson Says He Considered Leaving the Ravens but Wanted to 'Finish It' and Win (Exclusive)

"It's like, man, I'd just rather finish it here. You know? Win my Super Bowl here, like I said, and sky's the limit, and we'll see what else goes on," he tells PEOPLE

Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty
Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson, now the highest paid player in NFL history after signing a new contract, tells PEOPLE that while he considered leaving Charm City, the fans there show him "genuine" love and he preferred to "finish it here."

The 26-year-old quarterback, who agreed to a five-year, $260 million contract with the Ravens last month, talked to PEOPLE at the Roll with the Punches Foundation's "It's Okay Knot To Be Okay" black tie and sneaker gala held over the weekend.

"I just love everything about Baltimore, wonderful fan base, you know, even though I was getting DMs, like, people gonna miss me, you know, stuff like that," he says.

Jackson, who grew up in Florida before playing at the University of Louisville, says the Maryland city has embraced him as their QB.

"I feel like this is my third home, because I count Louisville as my second home, just because I played there three years, and just the love they show, it's like, genuine," Jackson said on the red carpet ahead of the event, which focused on mental health awareness. "It's like I'm part of their family and I felt like when people go into work, you know, whether we win or lose, it defines their week, how they're gonna prepare for work and stuff like that."

Related:Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson Thanks Bills Fans for Donating to Favorite Charity After Injury

Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

And the Heisman Trophy winner, who will play with star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this season, has his sights set on the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

"It's like, man, I'd just rather finish it here. You know? Win my Super Bowl here, like I said, and sky's the limit, and we'll see what else goes on," he adds.

At the gala, Jackson, his mother Felicia Jones and his production company, received the Chairman's Award from the foundation for their mental health advocacy work.

"They not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk," said Founder and Executive Director Joe Diggs, referencing Lamar and his mom when presenting the award.

Actor Anthony Anderson, well-known for his starring role on the TV show Black-ish that ran for 8 seasons, hosted the gala.

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Read the original article on People.