NEW ORLEANS -- Maurice Jones-Drew is living a sort of split life, these days.
He’s an NFL star in his offseason. He’s also UCLA undergrad living on campus trying to finish his degree.
But it’s more complicated than that for the Jacksonville Jaguars running back.
He had foot surgery in late December and has at least three more months before he’s back from the injury that cost him most of the 2012 season. He won’t make an issue of his contract this time around, but it will be an issue. New general manager David Caldwell and new coach Gus Bradley inherit a bruiser of a running back who’s heading into the final year of his contract.
Jaguars fans might be a little taken aback seeing Jones-Drew's current state. His left leg is folded at the knee with his shin resting on a platform atop a little scooter.
Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union spoke with MJD, who offered details of his injury for the first time, identifying it as a "mid-foot fracture."
“I did mess up some things, but it wasn’t what people thought it was,” Jones-Drew said.
But he spoke confidently about his ability to come back. He turns 28 in March, hardly old, but getting old in a league that increasingly fears running backs who are 30 or older.
“I don’t feel like this injury is going to slow me down,” he said. “I just have to train. I want to get back and play.
“… I’ll be doing the same kind of things I did after my knee injury [after the 2010 season]. You have to learn how to walk again.”
Jones-Drew regrets not having the surgery a month earlier, but four months of rehabilitation shouldn’t have a bearing on his 2013.
The status of his contract for a rebuilding team with a new general manager in David Caldwell and a new coach in Gus Bradley will factor into their stance with him going forward.
I don’t anticipate an extension. If he proves healthy a trade could be possible, though it would probably be hard to get what they’d consider value for a guy coming off such serious surgery.
Most likely, he plays 2013 with Jacksonville and we see what happens from there.