Jacksonville, Fla. – After spending his college career in the shadow of Heisman Trophy winner and former USC star Reggie Bush, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has started to establish himself as a force in the NFL after being a second-round pick from UCLA. He scored 16 touchdowns and had a combined 1,377 yards rushing and receiving as a rookie. He has become a darling of the fantasy football world, including being part of a humorous commercial that ran much of the preseason.
In between his busy schedule, Jones-Drew talked about his off-day routine:
Cole: So, what's your off day like?
Jones-Drew: I just try to do what everybody else does. If something is messed up around the house, I wait 'til Tuesday to fix it. Other than that, I get in The Lab and play the video games?
Cole: The Lab?
Jones-Drew: That's what you call it, The Lab. Like being a chemist or like a researcher or a scientist. He gets in his lab and researches his stuff, checks out his hypothesis and stuff. That's what we do here. That's why we're the best Madden players in the world, I think, on this team.
Cole: So this is serious stuff.
Jones-Drew: Dead serious.
Cole: So how much time do you spend in The Lab?
Jones-Drew: It just depends. Like, obviously we put in a lot of time here at work, so it depends on how you're feeling after work. If you feel good enough to spend three to four (hours) that's what you do. For me, I like to study on the other teams. I watch video a little later here. I don't like to bring work home, so I stay a little later; me and Fred (Taylor) and a couple of the other running backs, the quarterbacks, stay here and do that.
Cole: You don't like to bring videos home of the next opponent?
Jones-Drew: I don't like to. If I feel I haven't gotten enough, I will, but I like to stay here and get most of my stuff done here.
Cole: Why not take it home?
Jones-Drew: My grandpa (the late Maurice Jones) always told me, "Don't ever bring work home." That's just something I have lived by. Some people, they bring work home and it starts to interfere with your family life and I don't want that to happen. You always want to keep the two separate.
Cole: What did your grandpa do?
Jones-Drew: He was a probation officer before he retired.
Cole: So he didn't want to bring the stress home?
Jones-Drew: No, he had five kids and a couple of grandkids at home. It's tough.
Cole: Do you have a girlfriend or wife at home?
Cole: So what's a fun Tuesday for the two of you?
Jones-Drew: Fun? We spend most of the time with the dogs. Take them to the dog park; get them a run.
Cole: What kind of dogs do you have?
Jones-Drew: A bulldog and a pug mixed with a beagle, a puggle.
Cole: A puggle?
Jones-Drew: Yeah, they're pretty cool little dogs. I got him in California and the other one out here. It's a California dog. I think they only breed them out there because it's a Hollywood dog.
Cole: Like actors and actresses buy them?
Cole: OK, but you're in Year 2 out here in Jacksonville and this is a long way from California in terms of lifestyle. What's that like?
Jones-Drew: Not a big difference. Obviously, the nightlife coming from L.A. to Jacksonville is the other end of the spectrum. But for me, it's not that different. I'm in the city to work. I come here to work and play football, hang out with some of the guys, go home and sleep. I don't need to do too much to feel pleased.
Cole: Do people on the street recognize you as a football player because you're not the tallest guy (5-foot-7) in the world?
Jones-Drew: No, not at first they didn't. But I've done a commercial and some other things, but still not too much.
Cole: They recognize you from the fantasy football commercial?
Jones-Drew: Yeah, that's a classic, isn't it?
Cole: Yeah, what's your line again?
Jones-Drew: It's "Relax man, take it easy."
Cole: How long did it take the actor to get his line down right because his voice cracks at just the right time on that one?
Jones-Drew: He did it the first time. We did it like 30 times and he got it right every single time. They were working on my part the whole time. They changed my line from "It's cool, take it easy," to "Relax man" to "It's OK." I was like, "Damn, this is a lot."
Cole: Do people actually talk to you about fantasy football?
Jones-Drew: They do. It's always good to please people in their fantasy league.
Cole: Who's the best Madden player on the Jaguars?
Jones-Drew: (Nods and points to himself).
Cole: Does football knowledge translate into Madden knowledge?
Jones-Drew: Yeah, the game is virtually the same thing. It depends on what your defense runs, whether they're going to pick the hole to throw the ball or how you're going to stop the run. So it's pretty cool.
Cole: So, does Madden actually help you in real football?
Jones-Drew: It can if you know the game. It helps you as a running back because you know how defense fits with their coverages. It's little things like that.
Cole: Do you have tournaments each week?
Jones-Drew: No, it's the regular season now, so you just pick who you want to play. I'll be like, "Fred, I'm going to play you today." If you polled this league probably 95 percent of this league plays Madden.