Sports are unpredictable, and that rings more and more true the more specific the prediction is. That is, apparently, unless you’re Maurice Jones-Drew.
NFL Network asked its analysts to make one bold prediction ahead of Sunday’s conference championship games, and Jones-Drew decided to weigh in on the Packers-Buccaneers game. Specifically, the former running back boldly predicted that Green Bay cornerback Jaire Alexander would intercept Tom Brady twice during Sunday’s game.
That was precisely what happened, as Alexander picked off Brady on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter.
Calling an Alexander interception of Brady would have been bold enough, as that’s a pretty specific call. Adding in the second pick prediction and getting it right is just mind-boggling. That’s especially true when, as Jones-Drew noted, Alexander only had four career interceptions coming into the game.
Jones-Drew’s bold prediction aged a whole lot better than this take his NFL Network colleague gave last month.
Photo: Jeff Kern/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0
One of the common axioms among professional athletes is that you don’t mess with another player’s contract situation. Some members of the Pittsburgh Steelers violated that often unspoken rule last week, which apparently disappointed Le’Veon Bell.
Appearing on the “Dave Dameshek Football Podcast” this week, former running back-turned-analyst Maurice Jones-Drew said he spoke with Bell, who shared that he was disappointed by what his teammates did.
“[Bell] said to me ‘people think that I don’t like Pittsburgh, I don’t like James Conner, I don’t like these guys,'” Jones-Drew said, as transcribed by NFL.com. “He was like yes, I was disappointed they went out and spoke about my contract, understandably so. He was like, but I still want them to do well, they’re still guys that I work with and guys that I’ve put in this extra work with — blood, sweat and tears like I still want them to do well.”
The situation has become ugly for many involved.
Bell was franchise-tagged by the Steelers but has not signed his tender for 2018. He would be paid around $14.5 million this season if he were to sign his tender. Instead, Bell has not been playing as part of a plan to seemingly protect his value ahead of free agency. Bell just needs to report to the team by Week 10 in order to accrue a year towards free agency.
The Steelers have been practicing without Bell and are now playing without him, instead using James Conner as their starter. One particular issue that seems to be bothering the team — and players — is the uncertainty; Bell has not informed them of his plans, which leaves them in the dark and seems to be at the root of their complaints.
Maurice Jones-Drew officially tied a bow on his NFL career back in March, but at least one fantasy football team owner believes the 30-year-old still has a lot to offer.
On Sunday, Jones-Drew had a great response to a Twitter follower who said he drafted the former Jacksonville Jaguars back in all of his leagues.
Jones-Drew’s best season was in 2011, when he rushed for 1,606 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns. That was also his last season over 1,000 or more yards, as he carried the ball just 43 times for 96 yards — an average of 2.2 yards per carry — in a one-year stint with the Oakland Raiders last season. The most notable thing he did was make this political gesture on the field.
If that guy really did draft MJD in his leagues, he must like wasting bench space.
Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday by posting a message on Twitter saying that “all good things come to an end.”
In his note on the matter, Jones-Drew called his 9-year playing career an “amazing” time and said he is looking forward to the next chapter of his life.
Jones-Drew went from starting his career splitting carries with Fred Taylor in Jacksonville to becoming one of the best backs in the league. The No. 60 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Jones-Drew played with a chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove those who doubted him for his talent or size wrong. He was successful in doing so.
Jones-Drew 4.4 yards per carry during his career, leading the league with 344 carries and 1,606 rushing yards in his All-Pro season in 2011. His peak as a player came from 2009-2011, when he averaged 1,440 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 355 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns per season. He was named to the Pro Bowl all three seasons.
Hampered by injuries, Jones-Drew was let go by the Jags and played last season with the Raiders. He was no longer the same player and only rushed for 96 yards on 43 carries.
Jones-Drew scored 81 touchdowns during his playing career — 68 rushing, 11 receiving, and two on kickoff returns. He is the Jaguars’ second-leading all-time rusher and first in franchise history in rushing touchdowns. Pro-Football-Reference says Earl Campbell, Shaun Alexander, Mike Garrett, Brian Westbrook, Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, Eddie George and Marshawn Lynch are among the players who have had the most similar playing careers to Jones-Drew. That’s not bad company at all.
This is also a sad day for me personally. Jones-Drew was the best college player I saw during my days at UCLA.
In the wake of the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, numerous protests have been staged. The incident has become front-page news, drawing attention from across the United States and other parts of the world.
In the sports world, we have seen the St. Louis Rams provide free tickets to the football teams at three Ferguson area high schools for the Rams’ second preseason game. Washington Redskins players have also shown support, making the now famous “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that has become synonymous with protests in around Ferguson, Mo., during introductions.
On Friday, Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew took the opportunity to make the same gesture after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, shown in the above video.
As seen over the years, sports continues to be a powerful medium for the support of social causes.
If you think you and your friends take fantasy football too seriously, just wait until you hear this story.
During an interview with Evan Cohen and Steve Phillips on “Evan and Phillips in the Morning” on Mad Dog Radio SiriusXM 86 on Wednesday, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew shared a story about how one of his teammates nearly didn’t block for him on a play because the two were competing in fantasy football that week. Seriously.
“Greg Jones — see he’s not on the team anymore — perfect example: I was playing against him [in fantasy]. And we have our equipment guys keep us up on [the fantasy scores] during games. You know who you have and you see when you’re not on the field obviously but … I think if I scored, I was going to [beat Jones].
“We got onto the 1-yard line, and they were like, ‘We better call this run play.’ I’m like, ‘Greg, don’t do it.’ And he looked at me and he winked. And I was like ‘Greg.’ It’s not time to play. This is bigger than [winning in fantasy]. Let’s not do this.”
Asked what the wink meant, MJD answered, “[Jones] wasn’t going to block the guy!”
Would an NFL player really miss a block on purpose and sabotage his real team to beat a teammate in fantasy football? We highly doubt that would happen. But we do know guys have admitted missing blocks on purpose for even worse reasons, so you really can’t rule anything out.
UPDATE: MJD later said on Twitter that he was joking with the story — which is what most people figured.
You can listen to the audio of his appearance here.
Almost every fantasy football “expert” you asked on Sunday would have told you to bench both Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew if you had other options. The star backs were not expected to receive a full workload as Peterson is still recovering from ACL surgery and Jones-Drew missed the entire offseason while holding out. If what they saw wasn’t a full load, it was pretty damn close.
Jones-Drew had a decent day from a fantasy standpoint as he had 22 touches for 99 total yards. He failed to find the endzone and it may not have been what we’re used to, but it was far more than expected from someone who was supposed to be out of shape. Peterson, on the other hand, is obviously a freak of nature.
With Week 1 of the NFL season already upon us, two of the league’s top runners are facing an uphill battle to get back into shape. Maurice Jones-Drew missed all of Jaguars training camp while holding out for a new deal, but he returned over the weekend without one. Adrian Peterson has been trying to make a rapid recovery from major knee surgery. While the Jaguars stood strong and refused to give Jones-Drew a new deal, it’s clear that Peterson feels the team was playing with fire in doing so.
“Look at Jones-Drew,” Peterson said according to 1500ESPN.com. “He was their whole offense last year. So, without him, the Jaguars would have been terrible just to be honest.”
Jones-Drew was the NFL’s leading rusher last season, and Peterson credited him with keeping Jacksonville from being worse than 5-11 — which isn’t exactly an amazing accomplishment. The Jaguars were terrible without him last year and most expect them to be terrible again this season regardless.
Last year’s lack of success is what gave the Jaguars so much leverage with MJD this offseason. The team had to have known he wouldn’t hold out forever, and they figured Rashad Jennings would be an ample replacement if he missed any regular season time. Jones-Drew is one of the most talented backs in the league, but unfortunately for him he’s on a horrible team. Teams who win five games with their star players don’t tend to fret when they hold out as much as playoff teams do. How much worse can it get?
Helmet knock to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The NFL’s thoughts on concussions has evolved. While concussions were largely ignored throughout football history, they have been treated more seriously lately. Congress got the League’s attention by speaking with Roger Goodell. Media pressure, medical studies, and lawsuits from former players has helped convey their severity. Many people realize how awful concussions can be, but Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew still doesn’t seem to see it.
“The only reason they’re making a big deal about concussions right now is because the league is getting sued over it,” Jones-Drew told reporters, according to The Florida Times-Union. “Before this, you never heard about it. A couple of years ago, you didn’t hear anything about it. Let’s not make something out of nothing. Yeah, people are getting messed up. That happens. Most of the time it’s because they’re not wearing mouth pieces and they’re probably doing some other stuff. Obviously, back in the day they were doing some things that weren’t going to help your body out. It’s 2012; there’s ways to fix your body. Sometimes that means you have to pay the price.”
Despite being one of the best running backs in the NFL, Maurice Jones-Drew plummeted on most people’s fantasy draft charts before the season began. Most fantasy owners were concerned that MJD missed two games last year with a knee injury. They were worried he wouldn’t be recovered from offseason knee surgery. MJD is an avid fantasy football player, so he was well aware of the concerns. He said in August he was out to prove those “fantasy football gurus” wrong.
“Pretty much every reporter, ‘Will he be back, is it possible to come back and do what he’s done?’” Jones-Drew said regarding the questions he had been hearing. “A lot of fantasy football gurus who have never stepped on the field before or ever been in the locker room, they know the best about football.”
Jones-Drew promised he would prove the critics wrong, and he was right. The man coming off knee surgery leads the NFL in carries (277) and rushing yards (1,222). He also recorded his first career four-touchdown game Sunday.
MJD ran for two and caught two more scores in the Jags’ 41-14 win over the Bucs. In a year where so many fantasy running backs have been hurt — Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Fred Jackson, and Darren McFadden to name a few — it’s incredible that the man who entered the season with the most questions has turned out to be the most reliable of the bunch. He’s had at least 84 rushing yards in 12 of his team’s 13 games. Not bad for a guy with a bum knee. It’s time for Maurice Jones-Drew to be recognized for what he is — one of the best running backs in the NFL.