Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew: ‘Every year is a make-or-break year’

Maurice Jones-Drew started all 16 games for the Jags last season, rushing for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Maurice Jones-Drew started all 16 games for the Jags last season, rushing for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Maurice Jones-Drew loves to carry the football, gaining 1,391 yards last season. However, Jones-Drew also loves fantasy football. So during the upcoming season, Jones-Drew will host a show every Friday on SIRIUS/XM Fantasy Sports Radio, taking calls from listeners and managing his own fantasy team. During a recent visit to New York, Jones-Drew spoke with Sporting News’ Clifton Brown and other reporters about his passion for fantasy football and the state of the Jaguars heading to Thursday’s opening of training camp.

Q: On your fantasy football show, how will you avoid giving out privileged information about yourself and other players?
A: I have to feed my family first. I’ll give out as much info as I can, but I might not come out and say it. You have to kind of read between the lines.

Q: Have you had any conversations with Jaguars management about doing a fantasy football show during the season?
A: They’re excited about it. I’m not going to say anything—like if a player is hurt or something—but I’ll make sure fans get the real insight.

Q: Many people see this as a pivotal season in Jacksonville, for coach Jack Del Rio and for the franchise in general. Do you see it that way?
A: I think every season is significant. Every year is a make-or-break year. Obviously, the way we finished the last two seasons means some pressure is heaped on us. But we can perform under pressure, and I think we have a great chance of doing some great things this year.

Q: You are coming off your best season ever, gaining almost 1,400 yards. Do you have any personal goals for the ’10 season?
A: I was taught that when you win and do great things as team, the individual accolades come with it. All I’m worried about is getting my team to the playoffs and doing everything I can to help the Jaguars win a Super Bowl.

Q: There continues to be speculation that the Jaguars franchise eventually will leave Jacksonville. Is the talk about the franchise’s uncertain future a distraction for the players and coaches?
A: It’s out of our control. If it was up to the players, that would be something different. But it’s a business; it’s about fans and money. That’s out of our control. We have to perform and play like we can, and hopefully people will want to show up.

Q: On paper, the AFC South is one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with the Colts, Titans and Texans all having playoff aspirations. Do you agree that the division could be even tougher than last season?
A: Every game is tough in the NFL, but the quarterbacks and the defense that we have in our division makes it one of the toughest. But I still think we have shot at winning it. That’s our goal.

Q: Why do you play fantasy football?
A: I get to be the owner. I get to run stuff for once. Can’t run my house, can’t run the team in Jacksonville. If I get to run my own team, why not?

Q: How much talk is there about fantasy football in the locker room?
A: Tons of talk. You’ve got to understand we’re all playing, and everybody has somebody on our team. If somebody doesn’t do well, they get harped on. It’s all in good fun.

Q: Last season against the Jets, you were about to score a touchdown late in the game. Instead, you unselfishly took a knee at the 1-yard line and allowed more time to run off the clock before the Jaguars kicked a game-winning field goal. How much do you still hear about that from fantasy players?
A: I have to thank the Jets. If that would have never happened, I probably would never have gotten my own show. I appreciate them trying to let me score, and the (Jaguars) coaches for telling me to take a knee.

Q: Who are some of the other players around the NFL who are big fantasy players?
A: Steven Jackson is a big player. Peyton Manning plays I heard. A lot of guys like to talk about it. Hopefully, Peyton doesn’t do so well when he plays the Jaguars.

Q: Is there a fantasy sleeper on the Jaguars we should be keeping an eye on this season?
A: Listen to my show.

Clifton Brown is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at cliftonbrown@sportingnews.com.

Maurice Jones-Drew started all 16 games for the Jags last season, rushing for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Maurice Jones-Drew started all 16 games for the Jags last season, rushing for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Maurice Jones-Drew loves to carry the football, gaining 1,391 yards last season. However, Jones-Drew also loves fantasy football. So during the upcoming season, Jones-Drew will host a show every Friday on SIRIUS/XM Fantasy Sports Radio, taking calls from listeners and managing his own fantasy team. During a recent visit to New York, Jones-Drew spoke with Sporting News’ Clifton Brown and other reporters about his passion for fantasy football and the state of the Jaguars heading to Thursday’s opening of training camp.

Q: On your fantasy football show, how will you avoid giving out privileged information about yourself and other players?
A: I have to feed my family first. I’ll give out as much info as I can, but I might not come out and say it. You have to kind of read between the lines.

Q: Have you had any conversations with Jaguars management about doing a fantasy football show during the season?
A: They’re excited about it. I’m not going to say anything—like if a player is hurt or something—but I’ll make sure fans get the real insight.

Q: Many people see this as a pivotal season in Jacksonville, for coach Jack Del Rio and for the franchise in general. Do you see it that way?
A: I think every season is significant. Every year is a make-or-break year. Obviously, the way we finished the last two seasons means some pressure is heaped on us. But we can perform under pressure, and I think we have a great chance of doing some great things this year.

Q: You are coming off your best season ever, gaining almost 1,400 yards. Do you have any personal goals for the ’10 season?
A: I was taught that when you win and do great things as team, the individual accolades come with it. All I’m worried about is getting my team to the playoffs and doing everything I can to help the Jaguars win a Super Bowl.

Q: There continues to be speculation that the Jaguars franchise eventually will leave Jacksonville. Is the talk about the franchise’s uncertain future a distraction for the players and coaches?
A: It’s out of our control. If it was up to the players, that would be something different. But it’s a business; it’s about fans and money. That’s out of our control. We have to perform and play like we can, and hopefully people will want to show up.

Q: On paper, the AFC South is one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with the Colts, Titans and Texans all having playoff aspirations. Do you agree that the division could be even tougher than last season?
A: Every game is tough in the NFL, but the quarterbacks and the defense that we have in our division makes it one of the toughest. But I still think we have shot at winning it. That’s our goal.

Q: Why do you play fantasy football?
A: I get to be the owner. I get to run stuff for once. Can’t run my house, can’t run the team in Jacksonville. If I get to run my own team, why not?

Q: How much talk is there about fantasy football in the locker room?
A: Tons of talk. You’ve got to understand we’re all playing, and everybody has somebody on our team. If somebody doesn’t do well, they get harped on. It’s all in good fun.

Q: Last season against the Jets, you were about to score a touchdown late in the game. Instead, you unselfishly took a knee at the 1-yard line and allowed more time to run off the clock before the Jaguars kicked a game-winning field goal. How much do you still hear about that from fantasy players?
A: I have to thank the Jets. If that would have never happened, I probably would never have gotten my own show. I appreciate them trying to let me score, and the (Jaguars) coaches for telling me to take a knee.

Q: Who are some of the other players around the NFL who are big fantasy players?
A: Steven Jackson is a big player. Peyton Manning plays I heard. A lot of guys like to talk about it. Hopefully, Peyton doesn’t do so well when he plays the Jaguars.

Q: Is there a fantasy sleeper on the Jaguars we should be keeping an eye on this season?
A: Listen to my show.

Clifton Brown is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at cliftonbrown@sportingnews.com.

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