Jones-Drew knows how they felt. He cost himself a win in his own fantasy league.
"I was actually apologizing to myself," he said. "I have myself. It was all in fun. I know a lot of people were affected by it from what I hear."
Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould was one of them. He "owns" Jones-Drew in the NFL Players Association league;), which includes seven NFL players and one fan. Gould's Team Automatic lost to Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams' Memphis MudSlingers, partly because of Jones-Drew's kneel-down.
"I'm just glad he apologized," Gould jokingly said. "I probably would have won, so MJD's got to score an extra one for me this week."
Fantasy football leagues aren't just for fans anymore. An increasing number of NFL players are hopping on their computers and agonizing over their lineups.
Think your fantasy drafts are intense? Imagine what happens when a group of NFL players gets together.
Adam Caplan, an NFL reporter for Scout.com, is in his sixth year co-hosting a fantasy football show on Sirius NFL Radio. He estimated that about a quarter of the 60 to 70 players he has interviewed over the last few years participate in fantasy leagues.
Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
"But almost all of them know what it is," Caplan said, "because at the very least, their friends and family play."
"They've all got me," he said. "It's like, 'Did you score?' They try to sit me down like they're my coach: 'If you're not going to perform, I'm going to have to cut you. I'm going to have to sit you down this week."'
Having inside information doesn't always help, either. Earlier this season, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck benched himself in favor of Brett Favre, thinking the Vikings' quarterback would have a huge day against the St. Louis Rams. Well, Favre threw for 232 yards and one touchdown, but Hasselbeck had a season-high four touchdown passes against the Jaguars.
That's just bad GM work there, Matt.
And it's difficult not to be emotionally involved. Jets running back Leon Washington is clogging up a bench spot on his NFLPA-leading team, Jet Lizzle. He has been on injured reserve with a broken leg for nearly a month, but he hasn't had the nerve to cut himself.
"It's hard to do, but I've got to do it," Williams said. "I'm trying to win."
"I don't necessarily see a problem with NFL players being involved, because technically we're already involved," said San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who doesn't play fantasy sports. "We're the ones out here on the field either getting points or disappointing somebody's Sunday afternoon. Whether or not we play well, win or lose, it still affects us in the real world.
"The fantasy world is just that: fantasy."
Not that it stops fans from imploring NFL coaches to change their game plans to help their fantasy matchup in a given week.
For many NFL players, reality gives them more than enough reasons to worry.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press