Updated Sunday, Sept. 2, 2:50 p.m. ET
Disgruntled Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew ended his 38-day holdout, without a new contract, on Sunday.
Jones-Drew arrived at the Jaguars' facility Sunday morning and met with head coach Mike Mularkey and his staff.
“I had a really good visit this morning with Maurice and I welcomed him in," said Mularkey, who has said that RB Rashad Jennings will be the team's Week One starter. "It was good to finally speak face-to-face. I can tell he’s ready to go, so we’ll be working with him to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. It’s great to be able to proceed with our preparation for the opener and the season beyond with Maurice as part of the plans."
Jones-Drew started every game last season and led the league with 1,606 rushing yards. He also had 43 catches for 374 yards and 11 total touchdowns. The 27-year-old, who wants to be one of the NFL's highest-paid backs, signed a five-year deal in 2009 and is owed $4.45 million in 2012 and $4.95 million in 2013.
Coming off his big season, he showed his displeasure for his current deal by missing the team's entire offseason in a nasty contract dispute. His average salary per year ranks behind Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, Titans RB Chris Johnson, Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, Texans RB Arian Foster, Rams RB Steven Jackson, Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch.
However, new owner Shad Khan and GM Gene Smith have refused to renegotiate a new deal, with Khan passing along a message to Jones-Drew during his holdout, telling the media the "train's leaving the station. Run, get on it."
Jones-Drew reportedly was not pleased with the comments of the owner.
According to PFW Jaguars correspondent Vito Stellino, Sept. 1 or 2 was the planned reporting date for Jones-Drew if a new deal was not agreed to. He stood to lose $261,765 per game if he missed any games during the regular season.
“It’s great to have Maurice back in the building. He has been a valuable part of this organization, and his presence in the locker room and on the field will make those around him better. We’re glad to now have everyone in and working as a team to win football games,” Smith said Sunday.
Added Khan, “I am delighted that Maurice is back with the Jaguars. I know Maurice will be very impressed with the winning environment and attitude that Coach Mularkey has created, and I am sure MJD’s teammates are fired up to welcome him home. The Jaguars are a better football team today than we were yesterday, and now our entire franchise can move forward together and as one. Nothing more needs to be said. Go Jaguars!”
- Mike Mularkey