Maurice Jones-Drew skipping Jacksonville Jaguars' workouts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars opened a new era Tuesday without their star player.

All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drewskipped the opening day of the team's voluntary orientation for veterans in what reported is a contract dispute.

Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season, considerably less than fellow running backs Chris Johnson, Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch.

"It would've been nice to have Maurice Jones-Drew here," new Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. "I can't ask any of them to be here. We want them to be here ... just to kind of get a feel for how we are, what they can expect from us, and he just was one of the no-shows."

Jones-Drew was one of two players under contract but not on hand for the start of the three-day session. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is sitting home following eye surgery.

Kicker Josh Scobee also isn't attending. He has yet to sign the team's franchise tender and hopes to get a long-term deal done.

Jones-Drew seemingly wants one, too.

He led the NFL in rushing last season, gaining 1,606 yards for the NFL's worst offense and making his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. He has two years remaining on a five-year, $31 million contract, which he signed in 2009. The deal included $17.5 million guaranteed.

Mularkey said he had an idea Jones-Drew wouldn't attend the minicamp because he skipped the last two weeks of offseason conditioning, but he added he was unaware if the running back's absence was contract related.

Jaguars general manager Gene Smith didn't respond to an email from The Associated Press regarding Jones-Drew's absence. Jones-Drew's agent, Adisa Bakari, didn't return a phone call.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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