Maurice Jones-Drew Returns from Summer Vacation
After a luxuriously relaxing 38-day vacation, Maurice Jones-Drew returned to his job in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday richer in spirit, if not the wallet. Like others before him, Jones-Drew felt that he had outperformed his current contract and was hoping for a new deal. In the end, he got nothing. However he did manage to completely avoid the rigors, heat, and monotony of training camp, so there's that.
Upon his return Jones-Drew said of his holdout, "It was a dispute over money at the end of the day. There was no, 'Won or lost.' We're over it. It's solved for the time being, and we're ready to roll." Both his teammates and fantasy owners hope that last part is true. It's still fairly fresh in everyone's minds how Chris Johnson performed last year after he returned to the Tennessee Titans after his contract squabble. In his case, he got the big bucks he was looking for but seriously stunk out the joint on the gridiron. It's hard to say whether Johnson's lackluster performance last season was due to lack of motivation, lack of training camp, or lack of offensive line, but the bottom line is, he just wasn't any good. It remains to be seen whether Jones-Drew will encounter the same problems. For now though, he starts the season backing up his usual backup, Rashad Jennings.
On the surface, Jones-Drew's returning without getting a fat new contract seems like a "win" for new Jaguars owner Shad Khan. His now-famous quote to his disgruntled running back, "Train is leaving the station. Run, get on it," was the perfect illustration of his hardlne stance on labor and contracts. But is this the best persona for an owner to have in today's NFL? With players dealing with concussions and dozens of other career-threatening injuries every year, who's going to want to play for a guy who may nickel and dime them at every turn? Sure, Jones-Drew is back and Shad Khan made his point but, for now, this whole thing seems like a "lose-lose" situation.