Maurice Jones-Drew leaves legacy of misfortune

Scott Cunningham

After eight seasons, three Pro Bowls, more than 80 touchdowns and 13,000 all-purpose yards, Jones-Drew's career with the Jaguars didn't amount to many wins.

Full disclosure, Maurice Jones-Drew was, and still is, my favorite ever player, let alone Jaguars player.

At 23, I wasn't old enough to truly appreciate the successful yesteryears of the Jaguars, but I was certainly old enough to love watching UCLA's Maurice Drew shred defenses as a returner, running back and receiver during my trips to the Rose Bowl growing up. When he was drafted by my favorite team I was obviously excited, and he validated those feelings with 16 touchdowns as a rookie.

At his best, he had it all. MJD had the personality, the nicknames and the celebrations that made him so fun to be a fan of, and he had the athletic ability and toughness that made him impossible not to like.

Yet after eight seasons with the Jaguars, his time is going to be best remembered as the wasted  prime of one of the team's best ever players.

In eight seasons, Jones-Drew accumulated more than 8,000 yards rushing, nearly 3,000 receiving and 81 total touchdowns. The latter is a franchise record that likely won't be sniffed any time soon.

But with all that production and three Pro Bowls to match, Jones-Drew was a part of just one Jaguars team that earned its way into the postseason. In his one and only playoff victory, Jones-Drew was spectacular with a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and 96-yard kick return that set up a one-yard touchdown for Fred Taylor.

However, he won't be remembered for his spectacular showing in January. He'll be remembered as a player that consistently got four yards for a team that earned him only two or three. A player that broke down late in his career with multiple lower body injuries.

In his eight seasons with the Jaguars, the team finished with just one winning season and a combined record of 50-78.

Financially, he'll always be a player that signed a long-term deal just a little bit too early and never had the chance to truly cash in on the value of his talents.

At 29, Jones-Drew has time to adjust the way his career is remembered, particularly if he is slimmed down and manages to stay healthy, and I sincerely hope he does with the Oakland Raiders. But his tremendous eight years with the Jaguars will always have an unfortunate black spot on it.

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