Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew hasn’t played in two months since injuring his foot in Oakland, but is scheduled to work out Tuesday to see if he can come back for the final two weeks of the season.
Jags coach Mike Mularkey deemed him “questionable” for this week, and had some curious comments when asked about the length of his absence.
“I can tell you this: Based on his position and what he has to do, this kind of injury is different than for maybe a lineman,” Mularkey said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “Everybody is different with their pain tolerance. I can’t compare him to anybody else because I don’t know how he’s feeling. Some guys come back from torn ACLs [Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson] and lead the league in rushing; some guys take longer to come back.”
Jones-Drew still leads the team in rushing with 414 yards, despite missing eight games. Mularkey would only say there were no broken bones in Jones-Drew’s foot, but wouldn’t specify whether there was ligament damage.
“Obviously we would like to have him back because he’s a special back [at] full go or almost at full go,” Mularkey said.
Taken at face value, the comments are innocuous enough.
But after Jones-Drew’s fruitless holdout this summer, during which Mularkey said he had no contact with his team’s best player, it’s hard to not see an ulterior motive.
Given that he’s looking for one last payday, there’s no economic reason for a less-than-full-strength MJD to push himself for a 2-12 Jaguars team which is going nowhere.
Monday’s comments by Mularkey, particularly the “or almost at full-go,” could easily be construed as a shot at the veteran running back for not rushing back onto the field for the good of the team, particularly considering the way they played tough-guy with Jones-Drew upon his return by making him back up Rashad Jennings.