When Maurice Jones-Drew first failed to show up for the Jaguars’ voluntary offseason work, coach Mike Mularkey said he didn’t know anything about the reason for the running back’s absence.
Mularkey met with the media again on Tuesday after Jones-Drew failed to make it to the start of the team’s organized training activities and was a little more forthcoming. As has been widely reported but unconfirmed by either party to this point, Jones-Drew is staying away from the Jaguars because he wants a new contract from the team. The NFL’s leading rusher in 2011 has two years left on his contract and is set to make a total of $9.4 million.
“It’s all voluntary. I wish he was here. He knows we wish he was here,” Mularkey said, via Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. “He’s talked about trying to get an extension for his contract.”
Mularkey said that he isn’t worrying about Jones-Drew’s absence because of lessons learned when he was Buffalo’s head coach. He said that he let things he had no control over “suck the energy out of me” and he vows not to let that happen this time.
There’s not much reason for Mularkey to worry at this point. Jones-Drew has missed voluntary work several times with no negative impact on his game and he led the league in rushing after last year’s offseason was all but wiped out by the lockout. The Jaguars have a mandatory minicamp in June. If Jones-Drew doesn’t come to that, then there’s some reason to start worrying.