The Jacksonville Jaguars’ running game earned a reputation this past season, and deservedly so.
It was a major factor in Jacksonville's regular-season success and playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Plus, veteran Fred Taylor was selected to his first Pro Bowl and Maurice Jones-Drew, who nearly won Rookie of the Year in 2006, had a solid sophomore season.
But don't forget about Greg Jones.
On Wednesday he signed the richest fullback contract in NFL history, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus. Jones' five-year deal is reportedly worth $17 million.
After sitting out the entire 2006 season with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason, Jones established himself as perhaps the best lead blocker in the league in 2007. He also scored four touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving) and was named a first alternate to the Pro Bowl.
"I feel I can do better than what I did last season," Jones said. "They always say it's a year after the surgery that you become your normal self. Hopefully, this 2008 year will be better than 2007."
Proximity played a role in Jones' decision to stay with Jacksonville. A native of Beaufort, SC, Jones played at Florida State before he was drafted by the Jaguars in 2004.
"My family and I talked about [staying in Jacksonville]," Jones said. "I always wanted to stay here. It's close to home, and it's close to Tallahassee."
And blocking for backs such as Taylor and Jones-Drew doesn't hurt, either. Taylor rushed for over 1,000 yards for the seventh time in nine seasons and Jones-Drew added 768 yards and nine touchdowns.
"Blocking for those guys is going to make me look good," Jones said. "That was one of the reasons for me to stay here—them, [running backs] Coach Pola, the offense—just the guys on the team. I love the guys on the team. I can see the future is going to be good."