During his press conference, he admitted that he thought about going into the 2012 campaign and coming back midseason, but his love for the game and desire to not be a distraction to his teammates forced him to return now.
That is what was said, and it was the right thing to say, but there is probably more to it than that.
Returning now allows MJD to play at least most of the season; playing lets him showcase his skills. If Maurice Jones-Drew were to hold out through the season, that would be time lost trying to prove another point made during his press conference: that he wasn’t fully healthy last year and he intends to prove that he has not lost a step.
Jones-Drew knows defenders caught him from behind, last year. He knows we know that.
While there were always questions about his health going into the season, Jones-Drew always stated that he was in shape. The only person who truly knew how healthy Jones-Drew felt was himself, and if everyone was to believe he was 100 percent, than the only conclusion would have to be that he wasn’t the same running back that he had been in previous years.
If he did not return to show that he still has the speed, there would be no production, no meaningful numbers that he could use to negotiate a more lucrative contract next time around. That's why the basis of this hold out was, “My production speaks for itself. That’s how I felt, and it’s how I still feel.”
Another pillar of his argument was the value of the running back position, as over $200 million in guaranteed money has been committed by all teams to the running back position over the last two years alone. Jones-Drew is set to make a base salary of $4.45 million in 2012, almost half the base salary of Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson, the highest paid running backs in the NFL.
Secondly, he stated that teams can have strong passing attacks, but they need a quality running game to bring balance to the offense, noting that the Giants made their run in the postseason last year, on the heels of the running game.
I would argue that the Giants made a run because the Falcons only scored two points in the wild-card game, that turnovers cost the Packers their playoff game against New York when Eli Manning threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. The running game was not a huge factor for the Giants in the NFC Championship game in San Francisco: 87 yards and zero points on the ground did not beat the 49ers.
I wrote relevant reasons for why Maurice Jones-Drew was fighting an uphill battle a few weeks ago.
Regarding owner Shad Khan’s remarks, Jones-Drew said that coming from inside the organization, it disappointed him. “At the end of the day… certain people handle things different ways,” stated Jones-Drew.
Now, he knows how Shad Khan handles these types of things. Now, everyone knows how Shad Khan handles these types of things. Lesson learned.
So what was the point? Why hold out? Why come back?
As Jones-Drew put it at his press conference (via USAToday.com), “It was nothing to be gained. It was simply a dispute over money. At the end of the day, there was no win or loss.”
I beg to differ; there was certainly a winner in this standoff. He is back with the team, and they didn’t have to pay him a dime, they win.
Maurice Jones-Drew has no regrets for missing the past month of training camp, growing up being told to fight for what he believes in. "What I did was right."
With the holdout behind him, Jones-Drew needs to learn the offense, and more than the Cliff Notes version he received during OTAs. He needs to learn the terminology, how things are called in the huddle, and worry about what he can control: his production.
"My goal is to help the offense in any way that I can."
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