JACKSONVILLE – As promised and planned, we're all-MJD pretty much all the time this morning.
A couple of thoughts on free agency before we get started. One, this three-day negotiating window is just that – a negotiating window; while many fans were panicked and disappointed Saturday not to hear the Jaguars mentioned with every big-name, high-priced, well-known player out there, we're still two days from the beginning of free agency …
So wait and see what happens.
A second thought is that some of what was happening Saturday was expected. Players such as Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson and Cowboys right tackle Doug Free re-signed with their teams, and the Jaguars re-signed defensive end Tyson Alualu according to reports. That's what happens in the days leading to free agency; players re-sign with teams and the market grows thinner by the day.
That's to be expected, and that's why you must be smart going forward.
As for the big names and how all of this plays out, stay tuned.
There's a long way to go.
Now, as promised, a Maurice Jones-Drew-centric O-Zone, in honor of the former Jaguars running back who announced his retirement Thursday. We'll get back to free agency morning and when we do, guess what? We'll still be a day away, so there's time. Plenty of time.
Let's get to it … Martin from Newberry, FL:
I am sure you have gotten this question multiple times, but I will ask anyway and hope you pick mine (pick me! pick me!). With Maurice Jones-Drew's announced retirement, do you think he goes in the Pride this year? Personally, I think Jimmy Smith has done enough penance that I would like to see him on the wall this year, and MJD in 2016. Love your column!
John: Maurice Jones-Drew certainly will be inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. From an on-field perspective, I think Smith should get in first. He played well before Maurice Jones-Drew and was the better player. As for the timing of such things, there are many decisions at the Jaguars that are considered above my pay grade, and this is just one.
Clyde from Hopple:
MoJo memories … Almost any third-and-short run where Mojo broke a tackle or made a defensive player miss and then gained or more yards and the crowd yelled, "Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeew," and "Move the Chains."
John: Good stuff.
Albert from Kingsland, GA:
I cannot wait for MoJo to retire a Jaguar and to be at the "Bank" and be a part of the Fans shouting "DREW." Thank you, Maurice, for many memories.
John: I doubt you'll have to wait too, too terribly long.
Kurt from Jacksonville:
Mojo memory - November 2011. Cleveland was up 20-17 and the Jags were not having the greatest game, so my wife and I decided to start walking out with our 14-month old son to beat some of the traffic with just under three minutes to play. As we're walking by the Bud Zone about to go towards the stairs, the crowd erupts!! I take off running through the Bud Zone with my wife screaming at me to see Mojo had just gone over 70 yards on a pass from David Garrard. The Jags ended up winning 24-20. My wife was not happy leaving the stadium since I ran wild with "her baby," but I was happy as hell!! And since that time my son has attended many Jaguar games with me. Jag4Life. Thanks for the great memory, Mojo!
John: You did the right thing. Good call.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
MJD-32 was a highlight reel almost every game. He was a real tough guy who got you the tough yards. He played hurt. He was fun to watch play the game. I would like to see him play one more time for the Jags. That's the way he should go out. He was a complete back who did it all! I hope he is back to make Jax his home! Good luck to him and his family whatever they decide to do.
John: Jones-Drew won't play for the Jaguars or anyone else again. Players rarely go out in ideal fashion in the NFL, but that's OK. Remember him for what he was, because for six memorable seasons he was the real deal.
Steve from North Haven, CT:
I was watching the MJD highlight video and the most impressive thing that stood out to me was one play against the Titans. Garrard made it 50 yards downfield in front of MJD to lead block. Go Garrard!
John: Hey, one fer Garrard!
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
Mojo was a good team player. Do you think Bortles would throw a block like Garrard did?
John: Yes, why wouldn't he?
Shane from Corpus Christi, TX:
What do you think the chances are we can get MJD back for one year to help the rookies and new-to-the-team guys develop? He is a great talent and knows a lot about the offense. I think it would be a great idea for our newer guys to learn from that kind of talent. GO JAGS !!!!!
John: This will not happen. Maurice Jones-Drew is done playing, and plans to live in California to spend time with his family. Sounds like a good life. Good for him.
Joshua from Lynchburg, VA:
I never followed football much until one night in late 2006. I was relaxing at a cigar shop and a game just happened to be on. I don't remember anything about the game except how much fun I had watching MJD run over and around and through players twice his size. That's when I started caring about football, and that's when I became a Jags fan. I was disappointed with how things went down when he left Jacksonville, but I hope in a few years he'll cool down a bit and agree to take his rightful place in the Pride of the Jaguars.
John: I think you're more upset than Jones-Drew. There was little if any bad blood when Jones-Drew was not re-signed and there certainly aren't any hard feelings now. I don't know when he will get into the Pride, but any delay won't be because of hard feelings.
Mark from Ponte Vedra and Section 215:
As a longtime Jags fan and season ticket holder, I was saddened to hear of MJD's retirement. I have many great memories of his time here in Jacksonville. I especially remember watching him during a game in Kansas City. I was with my brother-in-law and was the only Jag fan in sight. Maurice caught a pass in the flat around the 25-yard line. He juked the defensive back who actually turned all the way around while Maurice scampered into the end zone. The Chiefs' fans were amazed. I just smiled. I had seen it many times before. Thanks, Maurice.
John: Don't be sad for Jones-Drew; celebrate him. He had a heck of a career, made three Pro Bowls and won an NFL rushing title. Many, many players have achieved less.
Logan from Big Bear City:
What a career for MJD! He will always be a Jaguar to the fans and the organization, I'm sure. I'd imagine he will sign a one-day deal with the Jags to retire? What do you think?
John: I imagine that will happen. I have no clue as to the date, but it almost certainly will take place before next season.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
I became a Jaguars fan because of Maurice Jones-Drew. He may have tried to get as much money as he could through hold-outs, but on the field he never gave less than maximum. He should come back and sign one-day contract to leave as a Jaguar as his block-buddy Greg Jones. Enjoy retirement, Pocket Hercules.
John: You're exactly right about Jones-Drew getting as much money as he could, and about giving all he had on the field. In that sense, he was very much a professional. He understood that all players – particularly running backs – have relatively short careers. He also understood that meant you had to get paid as much as you can when you can. In that same vein, he understood that he was essentially a contracted employee and that once he couldn't produce on the field he would no longer be in the NFL. All players understand this to a degree, and Jones-Drew was bold and confident enough to say so publicly and behave as such. And that's OK. The reason it was OK was because he never gave less than 100 percent, played through injury and gave his all on the field. That's what the contract says you do, and Jones-Drew did it.
Amanda from Section414 and Tallahassee, FL:
Drrrrrreeeeeewwwwww!!! No question for you, Mr O. I just wanted to say thank you to MJD. We became season-ticket holders the first year he came into the league and were fortunate to watch MJD. He was a bright spot for us during a time when being a season-ticket holder was not much fun due to the one playoff run during his time here. But, he made it worth the price of admission to watch him run. Thanks for the memories, MJD!!!
Doug from Jacksonville:
I have so many memories sitting in the stadium watching Jones-Drew. When he wasn't signed and allowed to test the market, I felt sad to be losing him, but had faith in the new regime making the calls. All the people writing into the O-Zone, though, talking about how much cap space we had and sign the man and show him the money...well let's say I am glad they weren't making the decisions. Utmost respect for Jones-Drew, and I am certain he will not be forgotten, but I am glad Caldwell did his job as well as he did.
John: Yeah, there was never really much of a decision. Signing Jones-Drew wouldn't have made sense for the Jaguars last offseason. I think most Jaguars fans understood this, and Jones-Drew certainly did.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
I will never forget when "Pinball" knocked Shawn Merriman on his awith a hellacious block in the end zone! What a fun player to watch he was.
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
O-Man, recent memories of MJD, from 2012 "God's Play - 32 Power. That's our bread and butter." What a beautifully executed play by the offense. And from 2013, the run around left end against the Texans, again beautifully blocked and executed and finished strong by Mojo. It's runs like those that put a smile on your face.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
My memory of Mojo is that he was one of the best when catching the ball out of the backfield in space in the middle of the field. Either the first guy would miss or get ran over.
John from American Fork:
John, thanks for the MoJo memory day. I have many great memories of watching MoJo play. The one of many memories that comes to mind is the Wild Card game vs. the Steelers in 2008. MJD came up huge including a 96-yard kickoff return, and the play I will always remember: a 43 yard catch and run for a TD. I can still remember jumping out of my seat to cheer. It was a great game for MoJo and the Jags.
John:Indeed it was.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
John, more of a statement than a question but it would be a heck of a gesture to sign MJD to a one-day contract so he can retire a Jaguar. The man deserves to be in the Pride of the Jaguars.
John:** Yes, and yes.