History of running back holdouts
- Published: Aug. 22, 2012 at 06:33 p.m.
- Updated: Sept. 3, 2012 at 04:30 p.m.
Given the physical punishment associated with the position, running backs' shelf lives are often much shorter than other elite players' careers. So it's understandable that the Jacksonville Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew is hardly the first big-name running back to holdout while positioning himself for a new deal. But history shows that everyone -- from MJD himself, to the Jaguars and their fans, to fantasy football owners -- have reason to worry about MoJo's unexcused absence.
Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Riggins sat out the entire 1980 season before new Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs convinced him to return in '81. Even though he found the end zone 13 times, Riggins needed another two seasons before crack the 1,000-yard barrier again in 1983.
In 1985, Dickerson's holdout cost him the first two regular-season games. The future Hall of Famer ran for just 1,234 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ouch.
Dickerson's second holdout -- this time with the Indianapolis Colts -- was far more costly. After he missed five games of the 1990 season, he failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time. Dickerson never passed 1,000 yards rushing again and was out of NFL after the 1993 season.
Smith famously missed the first two games of the 1993 season as the Dallas Cowboys played hardball following a Super Bowl title. After losing both games, the Cowboys ended up paying Smith over $13 million, and the running back helped Dallas to a second straight title.
Faulk held out 12 days into training camp before the St. Louis Rams gave their new running back a fat new contract. Their reward? Faulk scored 12 total touchdowns and led the NFL with 2,429 yards from scrimmage. Well played, St. Louis.
Johnson looms as a cautionary tale. The former Kansas City Chief's holdout produced a new deal in August 2007, but his production (and career) fell off the map after he hurt his foot midway through that season. Chiefs fans -- and fantasy football owners -- still haven't forgiven L.J.
Jackson got the megadeal he was seeking one day after ending his stalemate (literally). And even though S-Jax passed 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season, he missed four games mid-season with a thigh injury.
It's hard to tell who was more affected by Johnson's lengthy holdout: the Tennessee Titans or fantasy owners. Either way, both parties watched CJ2K struggle through six of his worst eight career single-game rushing performances in 2011.