The fateful day has arrived in Jacksonville, and it appears that Maurice Jones-Drew won't be a part of it.
Unhappy with his current contract that still has two years remaining, the defending rushing champion will not be reporting to training camp on time, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
For most of his career, MJD has been an irresistible force in the backfield, but now it appears he's up against an object that will not moved.
Doomsday is here, Jacksonville, and unless Jones-Drew calls off his bombers, everyone is going to suffer.
Normally, I would advise caution with such a story, but in this case, there is no bright side. There will be no winners here.
Both sides are right, and that's what creates the nightmare scenario. Jones-Drew is a fabulous player in his peak earning years, and he has to do everything possible to make his money while he can. The team has to take a hard line against holdouts and shouldn't overpay for a running back with tread off the tire.
When two sides are convinced of the rightness of their mutually exclusive causes, conflict is inevitable. I was certain that Jones-Drew would report if only to avoid the consequences of a holdout.
I admit I'm shocked Jones-Drew is holding out. All the signs have been there for months, but I assumed he was smart enough to realize that this is a fight he can't win. The biggest loser in this mess is unquestionably the All-Pro back.
In the eyes of fans, there's no way Jones-Drew comes out ahead. Fans hate holdouts and are naturally suspicious of players who get paid big money. No matter how fragile the career of an NFL back is, they aren't going to see his side of the issue. All they care about is the team.
More importantly, the team isn't going to cave. Unless Jones-Drew's real aim in all this is to miss a week of camp because it's tedious, he's not going to accomplish anything. The Jaguars have shown every indication that they are willing to dig in for the long haul, as they should.
Even if they ultimately "win" the stare-down, the team will obviously suffer as well. Given that they are installing a new offensive system in Jacksonville, it's imperative they get Jones-Drew into camp. On top of this unwanted drama, they still have to sign Justin Blackmon. Otherwise, they open camp without either of their two marquee weapons offensively.
Mike Mularkey is a loser here, too. Now he has to install an offense without the best player he has to work with, and he's handed what will be a tense locker room issue at best when Jones-Drew eventually returns.
The only potential winner in the entire mess is Rashad Jennings. He's trying to recover from surgery and make a statement in the final year of his deal. Now, he gets more reps with the first team and has the chance to establish himself as a hot free agent next year.
If Schefter's report is confirmed, Jones-Drew has started down a road that has no happy ending. The best he can hope for is that the Jaguars offer him some way to save face. The best the Jags can hope for is that Jones-Drew's holdout is merely a token resistance to save face.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!