Jones stays close to 'home'

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There wasn't much chance Greg Jones was going to leave the Jaguars. That's pretty much the way Jones characterized his flirtation with free agency.

"I wanted to stay here. I just wanted to be here five more years," he told reporters at a hastily arranged press conference on Wednesday afternoon that celebrated a new contract some are reporting will make Jones the highest-paid fullback in NFL history.

"That's what some people say but I don't know," Jones said with a smile.

The Jaguars signed Jones to a five-year contract and kept in place the AFC's number one fullback alternate in Pro-Bowl voting. Jones, who came to the Jaguars from Florida State with the reputation for being a feature running back, says it's all fine with him now because it fits neatly into his "simple life."

At Florida State he was a star runner. What if he had been told then that he would become more of a blocker and less of a runner in pro football?

"Then? I would've probably told you something I can't repeat right now," Jones said. "I'm still playing the game of football. I'm one of those lucky few."

Re-signing with the Jaguars was also a simple matter. He wanted to stay near his South Carolina and Florida State roots, and the Jaguars had lots of salary cap room to make it happen. Jones' contract voided the day after the Super Bowl, which would've made him an unrestricted free agent at midnight on Feb. 29.

"They know how bad I wanted to stay here. It's in my backyard. I'm a home body," Jones said.

In 2007, his comeback year from, yet, a second surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Jones was primarily a blocker and short-yardage runner. He rushed 42 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. He is considered to be a devastating blocker.

He appeared to be headed for a star season as a runner in the summer of 2006, until the ACL injury in a preseason game. He underwent ACL recovery in college, too, when he was considered one of the best runners in the country.

"I feel I can do better than I did last season. They say it's normally a year after the surgery so, hopefully, 2008 will be better," Jones said.

With Maurice Jones-Drew waiting to step into Fred Taylor's feature role, however, Jones is likely to stay in his fullback role.

"I'm going to continue blocking, staying after practice and working my butt off," he said. "It's hard work and it's finally paying off for me."

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