Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew cleared to practice

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Coaches will make sure Maurice Jones-Drew takes it easy in practice. (USATSI)
Coaches will make sure Maurice Jones-Drew takes it easy in practice. (USATSI)

Maybe more than any other player on the Jaguars squad, running back Maurice Jones-Drew has to be pumped for the start of training camp.

After all, he lost 10 games last season after suffering a Lisfranc injury in his foot, he was embroiled in a Memorial Day weekend controversy in which in which he allegedly struck a security guard at a Florida restaurant (he wasn't charged with a crime), and he took fire last week for joking about fantasy football (the one thing you don't joke about, for gosh sakes!).

But Jones-Drew got some great news Tuesday when the Jaguars announced he had been cleared for practice. The team said it "will bring him along slowly," but the fact he's going to get practice time is encouraging.

"Now it's back to football. It's a long time coming," Jones-Drew told reporters Tuesday while also saying the Memorial Day incident was "totally behind me."

At this point, it's unclear exactly how much workload Jones-Drew will be expected to handle when he's healthy in new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's scheme. But considering the Jaguars were one of the worst rushing teams in the league last season -- and he's not far removed from his league-leading 1,606-yard effort in 2011 -- and still employ disappointing quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Jones-Drew most likely will continue to have a major role. As long as he can stay healthy.

"I can't wait to see what he can do, and I can't wait to see what he can do in our total offense," Fisch said earlier this month. "I keep asking Blaine and Chad [Henne], 'Tell me about Mojo. What's he like in the huddle? What's it like being out there and seeing him hit the hole?' They speak glowingly about him."

Either way, the team will make sure Jones-Drew is fresh in the preseason by not working him too hard.

"We have to make sure he can just not plant off his foot, but be tackled on his foot and be able to bounce right back up and be able to withstand a lot of carries," Fisch said. "When we start seeing those things, we'll have a better feel of what type of guy he can be. We're not going to overburden him until he feels he's 100 percent."

In other Jaguars news, the team announced cornerback Johnathan Cyprien, and receiver Justin Blackmon, guard Stephane Milhim and Taylor Price will start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. According to the Jaguars, Cyprien, the team's second-round pick, strained his hamstring last week while working out in Miami. He's expected back next week.

 
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