Maurice Jones-Drew said he feels good again.
That, he said late Wednesday morning, is a vast difference from pretty much any time last season, one the Jaguars' two-time Pro Bowl running back said can be put into perspective pretty simply:
"Last year, I played on one leg – I have two now."
Jones-Drew, a Pro Bowl selection each of the past two seasons and a player considered critical to the Jaguars' success, spoke to the media late Wednesday morning.
Elsewhere around EverBank Field, players were reporting for training camp, scheduled to begin Thursday. That meant physicals and medical exams, as well as the continued process of re-acclimation following the 136-day lockout that officially ended Monday.
Jones-Drew wasted little time getting re-acclimated with reporters covering the team, engaging in good-natured banter over just why he said little about his knee throughout last season.
His reasoning was simple, he said.
"Put it this way: why would I tell you guys I have a knee injury so you guys can go out and tell every team to go lock on it and take shots at it?" Jones-Drew said. "If you listen to my (radio) show this off-season, all I've done is tell the truth. That's how it is.
"The reason I didn't tell you that is I didn't want you guys to go out and tell the Colts or certain other teams, 'Oh, his knee is hurt.' Now, it doesn't matter. I'm fully healthy."
Jones-Drew, who has made the last two Pro Bowls, rushed for 1,324 yards and five touchdowns on 299 carries last season, including a streak of six consecutive 100-yard rushing games. That came during a stretch in which Jacksonville won five of six games to move into first place in the AFC South.
In Game 14, however, Jones-Drew rushed for 46 yards on 15 carries in a loss to the Colts that knocked Jacksonville out of first place. Jones-Drew didn't play again, and the Jaguars didn't win again, either.
Jones-Drew underwent surgery early in the off-season, and while he declined to discuss the specifics of the surgery –"G-14 Classified," he said – he said he has improved steadily since.
Jones-Drew said he began running on an "AlterG" treadmill – one that won't allow the runner to use full body weight – in March, then ran in pools and the ocean. He began cutting in mid-June, and has been running since, he said.
"Last year, I was going through pain from camp until obviously having surgery," Jones-Drew said. "Now, all it is is building up the strength again, which I've been doing the last six months. I've been running and cutting at full speed – sudden cuts as well, which as a running back you have to have.
"Those things are going well. I just want to go out and test it in live drills. That's the one thing we're looking to do, but I'm not worried about it all."
Jones-Drew said while the new rules mandating teams practice on a contact basis just once a day have altered training camp he expects to participate on an extensive basis.
"I'm going to go out there and play, run around and do everything they want me to do whenever the coaches ask," Jones-Drew said. "Simple. Nothing more, nothing less."
Asked if the team might "take it easy" with him during training camp, Jones-Drew said, "We didn't take it easy last year and it was hurt, so why do it when it's fixed?"
"I'm only 26," he said, laughing. "I'm not 29 coming off of an injury. It's not going to be, 'He had another kid this off-season; he's carrying all that kid weight.' It was an injury. Everyone gets injured in this game. It's how you come back from it."
He also said the lockout, while not a "positive thing," did allow him to rest and rehabilitate extensively.
"It definitely gave everybody a chance to be fresh and ready to roll and have a productive season this year," he said.
Jones-Drew's knee wasn't the only issue he addressed – or his only high-profile off-season issue. It also was widely reported that he had been critical of the Jaguars' selection of Blaine Gabbert with the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.
"That wasn't how it was said," Jones-Drew said. "It sucked people took it out of context."
Jones-Drew on Wednesday reiterated his point that his comments had been in support of veteran quarterback David Garrard, but did say of the Gabbert selection, "I was shocked."
"I mean, we had David," Jones-Drew said. "That's the pick they wanted to go with, and that's what they wanted to do. So, we're just going to live with it. But as I've said before, David is the quarterback.
"He has been here since I've been here and he's the only guy I know. He's the guy who's going to take us to the championship and that's who we're going to run with."