Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew retired today after signing a one-day contract.
Jones-Drew, a second-round draft pick in 2006, started 70 of 114 games in eight seasons with the Jaguars and led the team in rushing in six of his eight seasons. He concluded his career in 2014 with the Oakland Raiders, playing in 12 games with one start.
His career totals include 1,847 rushes for 8,167 yards and 68 touchdowns, 346 receptions for 2,944 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jones-Drew was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, earning the honors in three straight years from 2009-11, and is the only player in Jaguars history with at least 1,300 rushing yards in three consecutive seasons. He became the first player in franchise history to lead the NFL in rushing as he finished with a team-record 1,606 yards on 343 carries in 2011.
The former UCLA standout holds Jaguars career records for touchdowns (81) and rushing touchdowns (68) while he owns single-season franchise records for rushing touchdowns (15, in 2009) and yards from scrimmage (1,980, in 2011).
Former and current players remarked on just how special a player Maurice Jones-Drew was:
Dwight Freeney, former Indianapolis Colts defensive end
"MJD was one of the best running backs that I have faced over the years. His combination of speed and power in that type of frame was unmatched by anyone."
Fred Taylor, former Jaguars running back
"I have tons of great memories of MJD which makes giving a single quote quite difficult without feeling as if I’m leaving something out. Maurice came into the league NFL-ready, unlike most rookies. He was very confident, assertive and anxious to hit the field so he could prove the critics wrong who thought he was too small. MJD aspired to be the best running back in the history of the game. He was never a big talker as he led by example and aspired his teammates through his play and passion for the game. Big-time runs, breaking tackle after tackle, stalemating blitzing linebackers who were much bigger than him; those are a few memories that immediately come to mind. I think it’s safe to say MJD had a great career."
Arian Foster, Houston Texans running back
"It was an honor playing in MJD’s era. I feel like he was one of the best backs of this era and he is the quintessential, prototypical, underdog story. He’s exactly what you think of when you think of people placing expectations and odds on you, and he defied that to have a very prosperous and illustrious career. I’m extremely happy for his retirement and his next journey in life. May his next journey be his best journey. I have the utmost respect for him as a man and as a football player. Nothing but love for him in Houston."
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos quarterback
"Maurice Jones Drew was a great running back. It was always a challenge for our team to play against him. We had some good battles with the Jaguars when Maurice played there. On any given play, our defense knew that he could go the distance. They were always focused on trying to contain him. He had the explosiveness and the strength to make all different kinds of runs. He had an unbelievable career. I wish him the best in his post-playing days."
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman/linebacker
"Maurice Jones-Drew was a problem. He was the type of guy you hate going against but you respect his game to the utmost. After his rookie year I don’t think he could have used the whole disrespect card because he brought his A game and he made guys pay. Just want to congratulate him on a successful career. Hate to see you go but glad to see you go at the same time."
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach
"Maurice Jones-Drew was a dynamic player and a dynamic, dedicated man. He played the game the way it was supposed to be played. He was a football player first and a running back second. I just had a great deal of appreciation for what he was able to do as a player. I even appreciated his kick return and punt return abilities as a young guy. He’s done it all in the business and he should be congratulated on an outstanding career."
Antoine Bethea, San Francisco 49ers safety
"MJD was not only one of the best backs during his time in the NFL, but he became a good friend! Facing him twice a year when I was with the Colts was brutal, but fun at the same time. Wishing him much success!"