A shining star to a huge steal: What happened to Maurice Jones-Drew


Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs the ball past Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard (31) during the game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

5’6 and taken in the second round, he was someone who was seriously looked down on.

Maurice Jones-Drew, a running back for one of the greatest high school teams ever—De La Salle, California—grew up in the hype and took the NFL by storm.  While being a 3-time Pro Bowler and 2-time first-team all-pro player, Drew took over the league and then one day fell off. How could this happen?

In high school, Maurice went to De La Salle, which is known for winning 151 straight games including multiple state championships. He had huge success during his time there, also becoming a 4-star recruit with several big offers from notable schools like UCLA, Oregon, and California. In his junior year alone, he ran for almost 2,000 yards with 26 touchdowns. All this hype was surrounding the kid from Concord who isn’t even taller than most high school football players nowadays.

The thing that separated J.D. from everyone else was his weight. Even though he was short, he was stocky. He topped over just around 210 pounds when he first entered the league, and plowed through the competition. He was described as a bowling ball of a running back, and knocked down all of the pins in each and every competition.

Jones-Drew attended the University of California Los Angles, a school not too far from his home. This decision turned out to be great for him, showing a lot of promise early in his career. As a freshman, he ran for 582 yards and 5 touchdowns, all off of 135 carries. With 25 more carries as a sophomore, this led him to a career-high year with 1,007 yards, and 8 touchdowns on 160 carries.  The first two years provided enough draft capital for him after capping off his junior year with very similar stats to his sophomore year to declare for the NFL Draft

In the second round with the 60th pick, J.D was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This pick was one of the greatest all-time picks in Jaguars’ history. J.D. would turn out to be a franchise running back, rushing for 941 yards with 13 touchdowns on 166 rushes while only starting one game. From 2009-2011, Maurice had his best seasons. In three years, he ran for 4321 yards with 28 touchdowns on 954 carries.

In 2012, Jones-Drew was ready for a new contract from Jacksonville. He had not received a new deal since the 2009 season and was waiting impatiently on the bench whole not even appearing in 10 games that year. After barely playing in 2012, Maurice’s last full season was in 2013. After this, he would become a free-agent and never suit up for Jacksonville again.

In 2014, Oakland had reportedly signed Jones-Drew to a three-year, multimillion-dollar contract. He was 29 at the time and nearing the end of his prime. He quickly fell off once putting on a Raiders uniform and retired quickly after that year.

Its sad to see a young player retire early because of money issues, which is a prominent issue in professional sports. Former Steelers players like Antonio Brown’s and Leveon Bell’s careers are now dumpster fires after waiting out time wanting a ridiculous amount of money. I hope this does not become an issue in the future NFL.