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Maurice Jones-Drew absent at Jaguars OTAs

  • By Brian McIntyre NFL.com
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Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that the absence of Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew from the team's OTAs is contract-related.

ATL: Examining MJD's absence
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"He's talked about trying to get an extension for his contract, which I think everybody's aware of," Mularkey said on Tuesday according to the Florida Times-Union. "I'm on the coaching end of those matters. I talk to him about football and what I can do for him on the field and in the locker room."

Jones-Drew signed a five-year, $31.35 million contract in April of 2009 that has two years and $9.5 million remaining. Running backs Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster and DeAngelo Williams received contract extensions averaging over $8 million per season in the last year, yet it was Jones-Drew who led the NFL in rushing yards in 2011. With running backs having a short shelf-life, and the 27-year-old undergoing major knee surgery last offseason, Jones-Drew appears to be willing to give up his $50,000 workout bonus (which he'd forfeit by not participating in the program) to get some or all of the remaining $9.4 million in base salary on his contract guaranteed.

Mularkey does not handle the team's contract negotiations, so he plans on concerning himself with the players that are in town for the OTAs.

"It's all voluntary," Mularkey said. "I wish he was here. He knows we wish he was here. His teammates have talked to him about it. It's a personal decision. There's nothing I can do about it. I think if I spend a lot of energy on worrying about that, it's not going to go in a good direction for the guys that are here. And I want to show them that positive energy that I have and I don't want to let anything be a distraction from the guys that are here. He'll catch up when he comes back in."

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