- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Maurice Jones-Drew must be spending too much time in the sun while he’s been staying away from the Jaguars.
I don’t understand how this question came up in a recent interview on The Ticket in Denver. Also, I understand players are programmed to say “I can do it” to virtually any question about ability and/or achievement.
Still, it’s hard to take this in:
On if he can break Emmitt Smith’s career rushing yards record:
“Yeah, I think it’s doable. I definitely think it’s doable. Once again, Emmitt Smith was in a different situation than a lot of us, though. I mean, he had a Hall of Fame receiver, Hall of Fame quarterback, Hall of Fame offensive line, Hall of Fame fullback. Whoever put that team together did a heck of a job, and it just showed. … Don’t get me wrong -- he was the reason they won, but he had a lot of guys around him as well.”
Smith has 18,355 career rushing yards. Jones-Drew ranks 55th with 6,854.
That gap of 11,501 yards is 149 more than John Riggins had in his entire career, and Riggins ranks 16th all time.
Jones-Drew is 26 years old. If he played 10 more years, an improbably long career for a running back, he’d have to average 1,135 yards in each of those 10. It would be 1,419 a season if he played eight more years and 1,892 if he played six more years.
He led the league with 1,606 rushing yards last season, before which his career best was 1,391.
He didn’t absorb full wear and tear early on when he worked with Fred Taylor. Still, a bruising back like Jones-Drew typically doesn’t have great longevity.
It’s good to hear he’s feeling well.
On how long he’ll last in this league:
“As long as I feel good, I’m gonna play,” he said. “That’s it. When I start to hurt and the hurting doesn’t stop in February, March, it starts going into July and August, then we’re gonna have problem. But right now I’m feeling great, and all I can do is keep playing and taking it a year at a time.”
I hope it’s a lot of years. And that he’s staying out of the sun.