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Inside the Jaguars: MJD focused on the present


JACKSONVILLE – Maurice Jones-Drew can't predict the future.

And for now, the Jaguars' three-time Pro Bowl running back said he's thinking as little as possible about that future and whether he will remain with the only NFL team for which he has played.

Indeed, despite the potential distractions of the holidays and the end of the season, Jaguars players and coaches this week said the focus is very much on the present.

And that goes for Jones-Drew, too.

"You only can control what you can control," Jones-Drew said Tuesday as the Jaguars (4-11) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (10-5) in the 2013 regular-season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.

"That's what I've realized over the last couple of years. You can't go out and try to make things happen. You just have to let it go and if it's going to happen the way you want it to, it will."

Asked if he thought he would hit unrestricted free agency in March, Jones-Drew said, "I don't know. It's not up to me."

As for this week, Jones-Drew said his focus is on trying to get healthy enough to play at a high level Sunday.

Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 764 yards and five touchdowns on 221 carries this season, missed the team's loss to Buffalo on December 15, but rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries against Tennessee this past week. He practiced a few plays in the Jaguars' walkthrough-style practice Tuesday, and then worked on a stationary bike.

"We said let's have another day on Wednesday and treatment and really rest him," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said.

Jones-Drew, a second-round selection by the Jaguars in 2006, is in the final year of his contract, which means Sunday's game could be his last with the Jaguars. He has said in recent weeks that he would like to return, and Jaguars first-year General Manager David Caldwell has said Jones-Drew returning is a realistic possibility.

Caldwell has said throughout the offseason and season that the team would renegotiate with potential 2014 free agents following the 2013 season.

Jones-Drew has said throughout the season he understands that stance, and that while he likes the direction of the franchise under Bradley and Caldwell, he understands that contract uncertainty and the accompanying decisions are "part of the business."

"I know what I have left and I feel like it's a lot," Jones-Drew said. "That's not really up to me anymore, though. I'm done talking. I'm just going to go home and relax and hope things work out for the best."

Jones-Drew, asked if he had an idea how long he wants to play, said he still takes such decisions a year at a time.

"This past year has been a very long one," he said. "Thursday is a year removed from me having foot surgery. It's been a long ride since then. My offseasons are very important to my ability to play during the season. This offseason is going to be one that's going to be crucial to where I get back to where I play at a high level."

But for this week, Jones-Drew said his focus remains on the present – and helping a young team continue to improve.

 "We've built a ton the second half of the season from an offensive standpoint and as a team," Jones-Drew said. "You want to continue that going forward. Guys are starting to get experience, which is going to be key for the next couple of years. From there, we just want to continue what Gus is preaching, which is getting better. Then, I think we'll be all right."

Also around the Jaguars Tuesday:

*The Jaguars had a walkthrough practice Tuesday and will be off Wednesday for Christmas before a practice with helmets Thursday. "We just felt like this was a good move for the team," Bradley said....

*Bradley called defensive tackle Roy Miller playing through his shoulder injury much of the year "incredible." Miller, who signed as a free agent before the season, was placed on injured reserve after playing much of the last three months with a significant labrum injury. "He fought through it all the way up until this last game and just felt like he had no strength," Bradley said….

*Four players listed as not practicing Tuesday:  offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield (ankle), cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle), linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) and Jones-Drew. Gratz likely will not play, Bradley said Monday....

*Bradfield isn't expected to practice until at least Friday, but Bradley said he expects the third-year left tackle to play. If Bradfield can't play, right tackle Austin Pasztor likely will move to the left side with Sam Young playing the right side….

*The following players were limited Tuesday: cornerback Alan Ball (ankle/shoulder), safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh/foot), safety Josh Evans (shoulder), defensive tackle Jordan Miller (shoulder), middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (groin) and wide receiver Ace Sanders (finger)….

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