Jones-Drew, the Jaguars’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, will continue conditioning and rehabilitating his foot in South Florida, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley told reporters Monday. Jones-Drew could work in South Florida through early June.
Bradley said he and the organization were fine with the decision.
“We just felt like it was in his interest to go down there and rehab and condition,” Bradley said Monday afternoon after the fourth of 10 scheduled organized team activities practices at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields adjacent to EverBank Field.
“He has a clear picture what we expect when he goes down there and when he comes back.”
Jones-Drew, who attended the opening week of OTAs, has been working with the team since the beginning of voluntary offseason workouts in mid-April.
Bradley said that he, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Jones-Drew have had extended conversations in recent weeks about how best to approach his rehabilitation.
“We just talked about his rehab, his conditioning and where he’s at right now,” Bradley said. “This isn’t something that’s been going on for a day or two. It’s been going in for a couple of weeks where we’ve had talks.”
Jones-Drew will work with Pete Bommarito at Bommarito Performance in Miami. Jones-Drew has worked with Bommarito throughout his NFL career, having been recommended to him by former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor.
“He’s going back and forth with some of the things with his foot,” Bradley said. “Mike (Jaguars Head Athletic Trainer Mike Ryan) has been great with him and Milo (Strength and Conditioning Coach Tom Myslinski), but we just felt like to take the next step for him would be going to intensify things a little bit more for him.”
Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing with a franchise-record 1,606 yards in 2011, missed all but five games with a foot injury last season. He sustained the injury October 21 in Oakland, missing the rest of the season and undergoing surgery in December.
Bradley said he expects Jones-Drew will attend the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp June 11-13, though he was unsure how extensively he would participate. Jones-Drew told reporters last week that he ran about 30 yards at three-quarter speed on the side last week in OTAs.
“It’s going to take some time and it should come back,” Bradley said. “We’re just taking the next step in the rehab process now as far as I’m looking at it. I am learning about it more and more as we go on, too, with communication, with Mike (Ryan), and Milo (Tom Myslinski).
“When we got together we just felt like it would be the best for him.”
Jones-Drew did not attend the 2012 offseason program and held out of training camp, reporting to the team on the weekend between the preseason finale and the regular-season opener. Since taking the job in January, Bradley has said on several occasions he likes Jones-Drew’s mindset preparing for 2013, and has talked extensively about the strong communication between him and Jones-Drew.
“We’ve talked about it,” Bradley said of Jones-Drew working away from EverBank. “It’s something that would be different if all of a sudden he called me and said he was leaving today, ‘I’ve had it.’ It was no conversation like that. I think in his mind he just has a plan in his mind how he would like to see it come together and I wanted him here to go through all the install with us offensively.
“I said, ‘We need you here,’ and he did that and he said, ‘Okay, now that we’ve got all the installs done let’s take the next step.’”
The Jaguars currently have six running backs on the roster aside from Jones-Drew, including six-year veteran
“I think it gives us a chance to see some of those guys and what they can do,” Bradley said. “We’ll see how they progress all the way through, but right now our mindset is, ‘Get Maurice Jones-Drew ready, Get ready and go.’ We felt like this was the best process to do that.”