Can Maurice Jones-Drew see?
With the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones-Drew’s primary worries on a football field come at close range, in small spaces.
So his nearsightedness was never that big of an issue for him.
Still, this offseason he had Lasik surgery and now he’s seeing things more clearly, at work and away from the field.
“It was 70-40 before and now it’s [cornerback] Scotty Starks vision: 15-20,” Jones-Drew told me recently. “I didn’t wear contacts. I was just out there playing off instincts. Blurry. You get used to it. I was nearsighted. So I could see up close, I just couldn’t see on those long passes.”
“It’s a huge difference. Now, I can see the laces. You can see them coming at you from 20, 30, 40 feet away.”
Jones-Drew never thought of it as a big football issue. He’s been a good receiver in his four seasons, but he is a running back targeted on short stuff that gives him a chance to run in space, not a guy who’s asked to run many routes far downfield.
“[Trainers] said if you can play with it, if you can handle it, you’re fine,” he said. “I’ve been playing with it since I was in college, though, so it wasn’t that bad. I had contacts in college and I got hit and one fell out and it got all irritated. I didn’t wear anything. They said if I had to pass my driver’s test again I probably wouldn’t have passed.”
It wasn’t football that really motivated his decision to have the surgery.
He said he grew increasingly frustrated from things like not being able to read signs and get where he wanted to go.
“I can see now,” he said. “They say I might have 15-20.”
We’ll find out this fall if there are additional benefits on the field.