Maurice Jones-Drew remains as passionate as ever about his value.
So when the Jaguars running back ended his 38-day holdout – without a new agreement – he had no apologies, no regrets and no worries about his standing with the franchise.
“I’m in a good place,” he revealed. “I did something I felt was right, and I’m always going to feel right. I’m not going to feel wrong for what I did it at all. And that is the reason why I can come back and not have a negative perspective. I think if you regret things, you’re going to come back salty, be a distraction, that kind of stuff.
“I do not feel that way’ cause what I did was right. No one can tell me know it was wrong. Not one individual here can tell me what I did was wrong.”
Jones-Drew arrived at the team facility Sunday morning, talked with squad and then had a 40-minute conversation with Coach Mike Mularkey. NFL scores
Later, he spent nearly a half hour answering questions on his holdout, even getting to a point where he announced to “make sure we all get this out of the way because I’m done after this.”
“This is the last talk about the entire contract situation,” he said. “We’re going to go forward to football after this.”
Jones-Drew considered skipping games, missing paychecks and causing a much bigger distraction for the team. Ultimately, he opted to report a week before the season opener. Jacksonville plays at Minnesota next Sunday.
“It truly wasn’t about budging,” expounded Jones-Drew, who took a conditioning test later in the day. “For me, it became to the point at which I wasn’t going to be traded. Glaringly, they were not going to pay me. I might have simply sat out until Week Ten, come back and been a distraction. It wasn’t about that. I’m not going to come back and distract guys from playing the game the right way.”
Mularkey has announced that Rashad Jennings will start for the Jaguars in Week One against the Vikings due to his strong preseason (209 yards on 47 attempts) and the fact he has been with the team at training camp.
Mularkey said in a statement that he “had a fairly good visit” with Jones-Drew.
“It was good to finally speak face to face. I am able to tell he’s ready to go, so we’ll be working with him to get him up to speed as fast as possible. It is good to be well placed to proceed with our preparation for the opener and the season beyond with Maurice as part of the plans.”
The NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, Jones-Drew skipped the team’s whole offseason schedule in what changed into a nasty agreement dispute.
Mularkey can fine MJD up to $30,000 a day – plus $60,000 for a 3-day, compulsory minicamp in June – meaning the total tab could end up being $1.2 million. Jones-Drew declined to reveal what he and Mularkey debated regarding the potential fine.
Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million in 2012 and $4.95 million next year.