After he averaged 3.4 yards per carry with the Jaguars last season, Maurice Jones-Drew thought about retiring.
Jones-Drew says that he watched tape of himself on the field and felt like he “just didn’t have it” after a serious foot injury in 2012 helped contribute to 2013’s dismal results. Jones-Drew was convinced that he could still play by a serious workout regimen that made him throw up five days in a row — “I wanted to see if I still had that burning desire” — and the desire to show his critics that there’s still something left in the tank.
“It doesn’t bother me that people have written me off, but it’s just how they’ve done it,” Jones-Drew said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I understand if I had played bad the year before, then played the way I did [in 2013]. Then, I could understand people saying, ‘Oh, he’s done.’ But I was leading the league in rushing before I broke my foot. It was tough hearing people say, ‘Aw, you don’t have it anymore.'”
Jones-Drew is one of several veterans the Raiders brought into the fold this offseason in hopes of providing both leadership and an immediate boost in talent that can lift the team to better results. Hitting on all of those bets is unlikely, but their record should improve if a few of them can prove their doubters wrong.
If Jones-Drew is one of them, he’ll have a chance to see the rest of the three-year deal he signed this offseason. If not, the list of people writing him off will only get longer.