JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Maurice Jones-Drew remains as passionate as ever about his value.
So when the Jacksonville Jaguars running back ended his 38-day holdout Sunday _ without a new contract _ he had no apologies, no regrets and no concerns about his standing with the franchise.
“I’m in a good place,” he 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. I think if you regret things, you’re going to come back salty, be a distraction, things like that.
“I don’t feel that way `cause what I did was right. No one can tell me it was wrong. Not one person here can tell me what I did was wrong.”
Jones-Drew arrived at the team facility Sunday morning, chatted with teammates and then had a 40-minute conversation with coach Mike Mularkey.
Later, he spent nearly half an hour answering questions about his holdout, even getting to a point where he told reporters to “make sure we all get this out of the way because I’m done after this.”
“This is the last talk about the whole contract situation,” he said. “We’re going to more forward to football after this.”
Jones-Drew considered skipping games, missing paychecks and causing an even bigger distraction for the team. Ultimately, though, he opted to report a week before the season opener. Jacksonville plays at Minnesota next Sunday.
“It really wasn’t about budging,” said Jones-Drew, who took a conditioning test later in the day. “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.”
The NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, Jones-Drew skipped the team’s entire offseason schedule in what became a nasty contract dispute.
Mularkey can fine MJD up to $30,000 a day _ plus $60,000 for a three-day, mandatory minicamp in June _ meaning the total tab could end up being $1.2 million. Jones-Drew declined to reveal what he and Mularkey discussed regarding the potential fine.
Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million in 2012 and $4.95 million next year.
He wanted to renegotiate the final two years of a five-year, $31 million deal that paid him nearly $22 million the last three seasons. Owner Shad Khan and general manager Gene Smith refused, not wanting to set a precedent of paying players in the middle of lucrative deals.
Those comments didn’t sit well with Jones-Drew, who would have accepted a trade if it meant getting a new deal.