Maurice Jones-Drew remains as passionate as ever about his value.
So when the Jacksonville Jaguars running back ended his 38-day holdout Sunday – without a new contract – he had no apologies, no regrets and no concerns about his standing with the franchise.
“I’m in a good place,” he said. “I did something I felt was right, and I’m always going to feel right.”
Jones-Drew arrived at the team facility in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday morning, chatted with teammates and then had a 40-minute conversation with coach Mike Mularkey.
The NFL’s leading rusher in 2011, Jones-Drew skipped the team’s entire offseason schedule in what became a nasty contract dispute.
Mularkey can fine MJD up to $30,000 a day – plus $60,000 for a three-day, mandatory minicamp in June – meaning the total tab could end up being $1.2 million. Jones-Drew declined to reveal what he and Mularkey discussed regarding the potential fine.
Jones-Drew is scheduled to make $4.45 million in 2012 and $4.95 million next year.
He wanted to renegotiate the final two years of a five-year, $31 million deal that paid him nearly $22 million the last three seasons. Owner Shad Khan and general manager Gene Smith refused, not wanting to set a precedent of paying players in the middle of lucrative deals.
Jacksonville opens the season at Minnesota on Sunday.
Refs union cries foul
The NFL referees union says the league is “engaged in a misinformation campaign” following unsuccessful negotiations earlier in the weekend.
The two sides failed to reach an agreement Saturday when they met for the third day in a row, and the league said it’s proceeding with replacement officials.
On Sunday, the NFL sent teams a memo saying it upped its offer to the union and thought it was close to a deal, but the union says “there was no agreement … to do anything other than to meet on Saturday. Any claim that numbers were agreed to before Saturday is absolutely false.”
In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, the NFL says that on Saturday “the officials immediately did an about-face and made clear that they had no intention of settling within the agreed-upon parameters.”
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten won’t know until Tuesday if he will be cleared to play in the season opener.
Witten is set to have a CT scan before the team leaves for New York to determine if his lacerated spleen is healed. Owner Jerry Jones says that scan probably will dictate if the seven-time Pro Bowl tight end gets to play against the Giants on Wednesday night.