MJD reaches out to Caldwell, Bradley
Updated On: Jun 04 2013 06:05:57 PM EDT
Maurice Jones-Drew is out of town, but still in touch with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Coach Gus Bradley praised Jones-Drew on Tuesday for "the communication that's taken place" since the team's star running back was allegedly involved in a fight over Memorial Day weekend.
Jones-Drew, who continues to work out in Miami, has not been charged in the May 26 altercation in which a security guard accused the three-time Pro Bowler of punching him at a restaurant/bar in St. Augustine. Police investigators want to interview Jones-Drew about the incident, but he has yet to meet with them.
He did, however, call Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell last week.
"I'm disappointed in the situation that did occur, but I'm not as far as the communication that's taken place," Bradley said. "He's had open communication and he's filling me in on things that are going on and where he's at with things, so I'm pleased with that part of it."
Bradley stopped short of saying Jones-Drew apologized for potentially creating another offseason distraction, which came four weeks after receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended for four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
It also was the second consecutive year that Jones-Drew generated headlines for off-the-field reasons. He was involved in a contentious contract holdout last year.
"I think he felt bad," Bradley said. "I know I'm speaking for what I think he felt, but I felt like he was disappointed that this had to occur and he was concerned about the momentum of the team. Things were going good and he felt like he was a leader and he has not been a guy that this has happened to, and now it has occurred so he was disappointed in that fact. But I think he's waiting to see how it unfolds as well."
Bradley said any disciplinary action would come after the incident gets resolved.
Teammates who have known Jones-Drew considerably longer than the first-year head coach were stunned when they heard about the fight.
"I've been out with Maurice a number of times, doing all kinds of things, and he's never even had that kind of demeanor," guard Uche Nwaneri said. "I was shocked to hear that someone's accusing him of taking a cheap shot and punching him. I don't know the details of it. The only ones who know the details are the ones who are either making the accusations or fighting against those accusations.
"Maurice is a stand-up guy. I'm sure he's going to handle it with poise and let it run its course. But I wouldn't anticipate him being the kind of person who's going around throwing haymakers on people."
The Jaguars returned to practice Tuesday for the first time since May 23, and Bradley welcomed them back during a team meeting but didn't mention Jones-Drew's situation because he didn't want it to be a "distraction from practice."
Bradley took the same approach with Blackmon's suspension.
"You can't let those things knock you off course," Nwaneri said. "Nobody here is looking at that like, 'Oh no, what are we going to do?' Justin's got a situation he's got to handle. He understands what kind of hole he put himself in with that move, but it's over with. ... And Maurice is trying to come back and have a great season, so he's going to do what he has to do to be 100 percent."
Jones-Drew is recovering from Lisfranc surgery on his left foot. He arrived for the team's offseason conditioning program out of shape - he hasn't been able to run full speed since December - but believed the extra weight would come off by training camp. He had hoped to be running by the end of May.
Last month, Jones-Drew got permission to leave organized team activities and start working out on his own in Miami.
"It sounds like he's making good progress and that his weight is coming down," Bradley said. "It feels like the workouts are going good down there."
The best evidence will be when he returns to Jacksonville for a mandatory, three-day minicamp next week. The trip might also include a talk with investigators and possibly a chat with teammates.
"The only thing you want to do is come here, get your job done and stay out of the headlines," said tight end Marcedes Lewis, who played with Jones-Drew at UCLA. "I know that's important to him, too. As far as that goes, he's struggling right now. My job is just to be there for him and hope that he gets through it all right."
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