Many folks expect 2011 leading NFL rusher Maurice Jones-Drew to have a bounceback year after a nightmarish 2012 that was marred by a holdout and shortened by injury. But 2013, MJD says, almost didn't happen.
The running back said at practice on Wednesday, via the indispensable John Oehser of Jaguars.com, that he thought to himself several times during training camp that he couldn't "do this anymore."
"There were a couple days during camp where I was like, ‘I don't know if I can do this anymore,'" Jones-Drew said. "Once the pain subsides and soreness goes away you're ready to roll again. You fought through those first couple weeks. You were all saying I felt great. I had to lie to myself too and say that as well. Now I feel good. I'm ready to get out there and play."
MJD's not far removed from a really impressive season. He ran for 1,606 yards in 2011 with Blaine Gabbert, as a rookie, under center and virtually no other weapons at the Jaguars disposal. That team was a trainwreck and a half outside of Jones-Drew.
So it's fantastic that MJD also said "I feel great" and that he could manage "as many [carries] as it takes" on Sunday when the Jaguars open up the season.
Running back youth is one of the more fleeting things in the NFL. At the ripe old age of 28, Jones-Drew is already on the downside of his career.
He's not done yet, though. MJD should have a few strong years left in the tank and, if he feels as good as he claims right now, he could certainly end up proving the doubters wrong at least one more time.