“Where is Jones-Drew?”
Both of these not-so-subtle statements were widespread at Friday night’s preseason opener between the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. Fans turned their once proud #32 jerseys into personal expressions of frustration. The long time pride of Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew’s contract dispute is quickly turning the city against him.
Who exactly is MoJo disputing with? Apparently, common sense. The Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan and General Manager Gene Smith have both made it clear and public that there is no discussion; Jones-Drew will be held accountable for the remaining two years of his contract. During this holdout, the NFL’s 2011 rushing leader is penalized $30,000 PER DAY for each day he misses. It will only get worse, as Jones-Drew is getting dangerously close to losing game checks. For a guy so concerned with money, he seems awfully comfortable giving it away.
While he is noticeably underpaid as far as star running backs go, it isn’t really underpaid. His current salary should be more than enough to feed and clothe his family, as it is 93 times the average yearly income of Jacksonville households. And it is this fact that is beginning to distance the three-time Pro Bowler from his fans.
“I might be set in 2012 to make 400% of what you all will make in your lifetime, but that just isn’t good enough for me. But you should still spend $200 to watch me play.”
The fans have so much to look forward to in 2012, they don’t NEED MoJo like they used to. An exciting new owner who’s launched an aggressive advertising campaign and a new head coach known for grooming successful young quarterbacks have overtaken the focus of fans that used to be devoted solely to Maurice Jones-Drew. New additions Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon have fans thinking pass, not run. Watching defensive back Aaron Ross celebrating his wife’s Olympic gold medal in London is much better than suffering though more no show MoJo news. Rashad Jennings youth and devoted eagerness is rallying fans a lot more than Jones-Drew’s selfish pouting.
Do they want Maurice Jones-Drew there? Absolutely. He is the Jags’ best player. But the train is boarding and fans are not waiting.