Shutdown Corner - NFL

I had the opportunity to talk to Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) earlier today, and finally, we got to address the "MJD vs. MJD" situation. I thank him for being such a gentleman about it.

He also had some interesting things to say about his new preferred nickname, the Michael Vick(notes) situation, Call of Duty, prevention of heat-related illnesses, poetry, and a new look he's working on for the 2009 season. Here's our conversation.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Hello.

MJD: Hey, Maurice, it's nice to talk to you.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, how are you?

MJD: I'm doing good, man. Thanks for taking the time this morning.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, no problem.

MJD: So I don't know if you know this, but we both go by "MJD."

Maurice Jones-Drew: That's what I hear.

MJD: Yeah, those are my initials. And then you came along and stole them.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Awww, my bad. I didn't mean to.

MJD: Is that your favorite nickname? I mean, you've had a lot of nicknames through your career.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I've got a billion of 'em. You know, I don't have a favorite one, and I don't have a least favorite. I kind of just go with whatever people want to call me.

MJD: Right. That's cool. My personal favorite, I think, is "Merlin." "Merlin" is kind of a cool nickname.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, Merlin's pretty awesome.

MJD: I've been reading on your Twitter page -- that is you, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, Jones_Drew32.

MJD: I've been reading about your "Call of Duty" prowess.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, that's my ... that's my baby right there.

MJD:
It seems like you're pretty dominant.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Well, I actually played with a couple of guys off Twitter, and they saw how dominant our clan is, and I'm not even the best guy on my clan. I'm like the 3rd or 4th best. But, you know, when I play by myself, I'll get like 30 kills. When I play with them, I'll get like 10 or 12. Because they're always gettin' 20.

MJD: Right. You play any other XBox games? Are you a big Madden guy?

Maurice Jones-Drew: I haven't played Madden on the XBox, just because I want to wait until the new one comes out. Because I usually play on Playstation 2, so I've gotta figure out how to work it on XBox a little bit.

MJD: Wow, Playstation 2. That's pretty old school, man.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I'm an old-school guy.

MJD: Have you seen your rating for Madden '10 yet?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I'm a little upset with that right now.

MJD: Yeah, you know, I don't blame you. I wrote yesterday that T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) was upset with his rating, but I think if anyone should be upset, it's you.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I don't know how I go down.

MJD: That's crazy. You're not even in the Top 10.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Nope. I'm gonna have to talk to them about that.

MJD: That's a shame. So what are your thoughts on Michael Vick, and his possible reinstatement soon?

Maurice Jones-Drew: I think my thoughts are a little ... I don't know. I'm just upset with the whole situation because he served his time.

MJD: Right.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I really think he did more than what he should have served, obviously, for certain reasons. And you're still trying to drag his name through the mud? I mean, he served two years for killing animals, right? But there are some people who don't even serve that much for homicides. Or people who rape or molest children, they don't serve that much. So I get upset with that because, obviously, you want to make a statement, but he served his time; he never complained about it. He just did his time, and let everybody slander his name and all that. And now it's time for him to get back in the game and start playing, and now you want to hold him up. Come on, you've done enough to the guy. You know, this is supposed to be a land of second chances, and you're not even trying to give him one. So, I don't know, I'm just a little upset with that.

MJD: Yeah, I hear you. I kind of feel the same way. Let me get a prediction from you, if you don't mind, for what the Jaguars can accomplish this year, and maybe a number of yards and touchdowns for you personally this year.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I really don't have a set number of yards and touchdowns. I think our goal this year is to obviously, take it one game at a time, but at the end of the day, hold up that trophy. I think that's everybody's goal, but for us, we have to take it one game at a time. I think it's possible. I think we definitely have a great team that can make plays, we just have to get players in the right situations to be successful, and we'll be alright.

MJD: Sounds good. When I think about your playing career, one highlight comes to mind first, and that's your block on Shawne Merriman(notes), where you just kind of blew him up.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah.

MJD: What do you remember about that play?

Maurice Jones-Drew: It was kind of just set up throughout the whole game, we ran at him. You know, the fullback blocked him, the tight end blocked him, and then we kind of cut him on the goal line, where he didn't know who was going to hit him, and I popped up. I don't think I caught him off-guard, but I think he was shocked, because most running backs try to cut him. So I went high on him, and kind of knocked him off his feet.

MJD: Yeah, you definitely got him pretty good. You want to tell us a little bit about Gatorade and the Beat the Heat program?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Definitely. Gatorade's teaming up with a bunch of NFL families, coaches, athletes and players to tackle heat illnesses and death throughout the United States. It's a very serious situation. I think this summer's going to be one of the hottest summers. Obviously, I'm working out in Florida right now, in Miami, and when I'm working out I have to hydrate. You know, before I go to sleep and when I wake up, I drink a bottle of water or a Gatorade, and you know, I'm losing weight significantly right now. So just for kids out three, I remember when I was in high school, coaches used to tell us, "Oh, you're soft if you drink water," or "You don't need water, you gotta be tough," and this and that, and they were pretty much wrong, because if you don't hydrate your body, if you don't take care of your body, your body will shut down on you. And that's where you get these guys becoming dizzy, or they're starting to cramp up. And those are just the first signs of heat stroke coming. So what we're trying to do is tell all the high school kids, college kids, how important it is to drink. You know, drinking water and Gatorade, especially Gatorade, because Gatorade replenishes your electrolytes and the sodium that you lose from sweating, and it keeps your body playing at a high level for longer, which is key during the summer workouts and camps and things like that. That's what we're here for. We're here to try to educate and close the gap between the head coaches, the parents, the players, so we can avoid these heat-related illnesses.

MJD: Good deal. Now, if you don't mind if we switch to some non-football questions ... if you could have dinner with any three people in history, dead or alive, who would they be?

Maurice Jones-Drew: If I could eat dinner? Man. Hm, let me think. Eat dinner, dead or alive ... I don't know, man. I don't really ... I'm trying to think. Well, I've had dinner with Barry Sanders before, so that's pretty cool.

MJD: That's definitely cool.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I'd have to put Alicia Keys on there. Just because, she'd be the eye candy. She's my girlfriend. I'd say probably Martin Luther King Jr., and what's another one? I'm trying to think. And my grandfather, how about that?

MJD: That's excellent.

Maurice Jones-Drew: That's a great group of people.

MJD: Sounds like it. What's the last movie you went out and saw?

Maurice Jones-Drew: I was supposed to go see "The Hangover" last night, but our babysitter, my mother, didn't come in in time for us to catch the movie.

MJD: Oh, that's too bad.

Maurice Jones-Drew: The last movie I saw in the movie theatres, or the last movie I saw just on DVD?

MJD: In the theatre.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Oh man, I don't know. I haven't gone to the movie theatre in like three years.

MJD: Wow.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I always wait for 'em to come out on DVD. "Wedding Crashers" and "Superbad" are the last couple of movies I've watched.

MJD: You know, those are probably both in the last five movies I've watched, too.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Those are classics.

MJD: Yeah, no question. What's on your iPod right now? What are you listening to?

Maurice Jones-Drew: I was listening to Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Lil' Wayne, Mac Dre, a Bay Area rapper. Who else is on there... Busta Rhymes is on there, Kanye West, Common. Those guys.

MJD: Nice. What's one hobby you have, or one thing you enjoy doing that people might be surprised to hear that a football player does?

Maurice Jones-Drew: I used to be a big poetry guy. I used to write poems. I actually got second in an event in the Bay Area.

MJD: Wow.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I used to do poems. Now, I don't have any hobbies. I have a son now, so that's the hobby. Tackling that guy. I gotta tackle him. I should be playing defense, because he's out of control.

MJD: How old's your son?

Maurice Jones-Drew: He's one. We played football yesterday, actually. He had the remote, and I was chasin' him, and he gave me a mean stiff-arm. He's ready.

MJD: Say your house catches on fire, and all your family and all your loved ones get out safely, and you've got the chance to go back in and grab one thing. What would it be?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Oh, my XBox. That's easy. I gotta get the XBox and Call of Duty game, make sure that's outta there. Hopefully, my dogs are out of there, too.

MJD: Oh, yeah. The dogs are included in the family.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Oh, okay.

MJD: Man, you are all about the Call of Duty.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I am, man. I don't know what it is about it, I'm just addicted to it. A lot of people get addicted to certain things, I'm just addicted to video games, you know? I guess it's not that bad to be addicted to.

MJD: No, man, if you had to pick something ... there are worse choices, for sure. If you could wake up tomorrow with one superhero power, what would you choose?

Maurice Jones-Drew: To fly. So I don't have to wait in those lines at Southwest and Delta and stuff.

MJD: Alright, I think that's all I have for you, as long as, you know, the "MJD" nickname issue is settled.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I'll go with Merlin from now on.

MJD: That sounds perfect.

Maurice Jones-Drew: I'll tell people to call me Merlin. I'm growin' a beard like him, too, right now, so I'm trying to get it long. And hopefully, they'll start calling me Merlin.

MJD: Oh, are you going into the season with a beard?

Maurice Jones-Drew: Oh yeah. I got to, you know? Even though it grows like half here, half there, patch here, patch there ... I figure it's alright. It'll fill in one day.

MJD: No, the beard is an underrated look for pro athletes. I encourage the beard.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Yeah, I'm a beard guy right now.

MJD: Alright, man. Well good luck with that, and good luck with the season, and I really appreciate you taking the time this morning.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Oh, thank you, I appreciate it.

MJD: Alright, man, have a good day.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Alright, you too.

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