“Jones-Drew who?” continues to be the unofficial slogan of the 2012 Jaguars, and that attitude traces all the way to the top of the organization.
More than three weeks have passed since the Jags opened their first training camp under new owner Shahid Khan. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, didn’t show up — and he has still not reported.
As we’ve previously explained, the Jaguars benefit from the holdout being regarded as not a big deal. With ESPN focused on matters like the flavor of Tim Tebow’s birthday cake and whether he made a wish and if he blew out all the candles on one try, the Jones-Drew story has been largely ignored, which results in far less pressure on the team to do something to bring it to an end.
Making it harder for Jones-Drew to muster any momentum is the fact that, while ordinarily talkative (and naturally funny when he talks), Jones-Drew has been silent about his contract situation.
Friday night, Khan opted to risk waking the sleeping Pocket Hercules by addressing the situation in a boastful way.
“He’s not here, and that’s his decision,” Khan told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “Believe me, it’s not a great concern. You hope for the best, and you plan for the worst. Our goals for the season don’t change, and if he isn’t here, he isn’t here. I don’t control it. It’s his choice.”
Khan believes he’s able to take a hard line because of his experiences owning Flex-N-Gate, an automobile parts manufacturing company. “I’ve been involved in many kind of industrial business dealings,” Khan said. “I’ve encountered strikes and violence. And if you don’t handle that, you’re not around to see them through.”
Then Khan went for the kill: “Believe me, on a zero-to-10 level of stress, this doesn’t even move the needle.”
(Maurice, are you gonna let him get away with that? Are you gonna let this [expletives deleted] get away with that? What’s the matter with you? What’s the world coming to?)
In all (or at least some) seriousness, football players don’t react well to challenges. With Khan saying that the decision of one of the best players in the game to boycott training camp and the preseason “doesn’t even move the needle” for a franchise that hasn’t done much needle-moving in recent years, Khan could soon see the needle move much higher.