5-foot-7 Maurice Jones-Drew playing larger than life for Jacksonville Jaguars

He takes his game, if not himself, seriously

November 22, 2009|By Sam Farmer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Maurice Jones-Drew is a kid at heart and doesn't take himself too seriously. Case in point: On the day before Halloween, the running back drove his Hummer home from Jaguars headquarters wearing the giant, fuzzy red head of a popular Sesame Street character.

So when a cluster of Jets fans taunted him before last Sunday's game at the Meadowlands with a chant of "Over-rated! Over-rated!" this 5-foot-7 Elmo impostor was - what else? - tickled.

"It got pretty bad; they almost rattled me," Jones-Drew said. "I just went over to them and I was like, 'You know what, man, I'm just happy you know my name. Thank you. You've helped me out so much today.' They just looked at me and started laughing. It's funny. Kill them with kindness. That's how you stop a trash talker."

Stopping Jones-Drew, that's a different story. NFL teams haven't figured that one out. He leads the league with 12 rushing touchdowns and trampled the Jets to the tune of 123 yards and a touchdown. He also became the first player since 2006 to rush for 100 yards against a team that has defensive mastermind Rex Ryan on the payroll.

Of course, the play everyone will remember from that game is the touchdown that wasn't. Inside the final two minutes, with the Jaguars trailing by a point and 10 yards from the end zone, Jones-Drew took a handoff and ran 9 yards up the middle.

The Jets wanted him to score so they could get the ball back. But Jones-Drew, following the directions of coach Jack Del Rio, halted his momentum and kneeled a yard short of the goal line. That enabled his team to run out the remainder of the clock and win with a chip-shot field goal on the final play.

It was the kind of selfless, heady play teammates have come to expect from Jones-Drew, far and away the most popular member of the Jaguars inside the locker room and in the community. Simply put, "Mo-Jo" is the man.

"He brings that energy this entire team feeds off of," center Brad Meester said. "He has that smile, but he also just has that fire to him."

Make no mistake, this down-to-earth fellow does like knocking people down to earth. He's a crushing blocker.

"Playing football is all about having that controlled aggression, controlled anger," he said. "From play to play, you're able to let a little bit of it out here, a little bit there. You always come back to that, 'These guys said I couldn't do it. I'm going to show them.' "

So maybe those New York needlers learned a thing or two. One man's overrated is another man's overlooked.


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