Jacksonville Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew has ended his holdout, reporting for work…
Maurice Jones-Drew reports, ends holdout
"It was nothing to be gained," Jones-Drew told Jacksonville reporters today during a press conference. "It was simply a dispute over money at the end of the day. There was no win or loss, it was my production speaks for itself, and that's how I felt and that's how I still feel.
"It is behind me. For me, it's more just I'm back with my teammates playing football again, the game I love and just ready to get back with them. I saw a bunch of them today. Talked with a bunch of them last night and can't wait to get back and get going."
"It's great to have Maurice back in the building," general manager Gene Smith said in a statement. "He has been a valuable part of this organization, and his presence in the locker room and on the field will make those around him better. We're glad to now have everyone in and working as a team to win football games."
Added coach Mike Mularkey: "I had a really good visit this morning with Maurice and I welcomed him in. It was good to finally speak face-to-face. I can tell he's ready to go, so we'll be working with him to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. It's great to be able to proceed with our preparation for the opener and the season beyond with Maurice as part of the plans."
The Jaguars have the right under the NFL collective bargaining agreement to fine him $30,000 for each day of camp missed
He can be fined up to $1.2 million, $30,000 for each day he missed of training camp.
"I'm in a good place," Jones-Drew said. "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's why I can come back and not have a negative attitude.
After reporting today, Jones-Drew made it clear that he won't be addressing his contract going forward.
"This is the last talk about the whole contract situation," Jones-Drew said. "We're going to more forward to football after this." Jaguars owner Shad Khan had made it clear the team won't renegotiate Jones-Drew's $31 million deal inked three years ago.
Jones-Drew has already been paid $21.85 million, but is due $4.45 million this year and $4.95 million next year.
"It really wasn't about budging,'' Jones-Drew said. "For me, it got to the point where I wasn't going to be traded. Obviously, they weren't going to pay me. I could have easily sat out until Week 10, 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." As for his contract situation, Jones-Drew said he knew it was an uphill fight.
"I knew it was going to be a difficult situation," Jones-Drew said. "I had two years left. But the way I was raised, the way I grew up, is if you believe something you fight for it. You fight for whatever you believe. My production stated something. I fought for it, plain and simple.
"Yes, it went into a holdout and all these different things. At the end of the day, that's what it was about: my production and my value. I haven't stopped fighting. I'm going to come out and play."
When asked about his status going forward, Jones-Drew replied: "We're over it. It's solved for the time being and we're ready to move on."
Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,606 yards.
When Khan famously said that Jones-Drew skipping camp didn't faze him and added, "The train's leaving the station. Run, get on it," it upset the star runner.
''I was disappointed about the comments,'' Jones-Drew said. ''I expect you guys or people outside the organization to make those comments like that. But when you do get it inside the organization, with how hard we work, with the time you put in through the offseason, the time you spend away from your family here at the facility, you expect a little more appreciation.''
Today, though, Khan was enthusiastic about Jones-Drew's return.
''The Jaguars are a better football team today than we were yesterday, and now our entire franchise can move forward together and as one,'' Khan said in a statement. ''Nothing more needs to be said."
Jones-Drew emphasized that he's ready for the first game, but his role hasn't been determined yet.
"I think I'm game ready now, but once again I have to understand the terminology, the playbook," he said. "I didn't have the camp playbook, but I got the gist of a lot of things. It's really just getting used to the terminology, going out there with practice and just repetition with it and being ready to play."
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