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Unhappy with his contract, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew did not report Thursday to the start of Jacksonville's training camp.
The Jaguars have said they will not renegotiate Jones-Drew's original five-year, $31 million deal, which has two years and roughly $9 million left on it.
Jacksonville can fine Jones-Drew $30,000 each day of camp that he misses.
By not showing up Thursday, Jones-Drew delivered his loudest and clearest message to date about how determined he is to land a contract he believes is fair.It also sets up a showdown between the NFL's defending rushing champion (and the league's leading rusher the past three years) and a franchise that is dependent on and built around its Pro Bowl running back. Jones-Drew has rushed for more than 1,300 yards in each of the past three seasons, and he led the league in rushing last year with 1,606 yards. No other back has amassed 1,300-plus rushing yards in each of the past three years. "When I talk to him I've even asked him, for the team, to be here," defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "But guys have their own agenda. Being in the NFL, it's about the team, but you also have to take care of home. I'm pretty sure that's what he's doing. We'll be behind him regardless. I can't wait for him to get here, though." First-round draft pick Justin Blackmon, one of the few remaining unsigned rookies, also was a no-show to Jaguars' camp on Thursday. Complicating negotiations with Blackmon is that the fifth overall pick pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in Stillwater, Okla., earlier this week. The Jaguars want protection in case the former Oklahoma State receiver has another off-field incident. Jones-Drew skipped the Jaguars' entire offseason program because of displeasure with his contract situation, but team owner Shad Khan indicated Wednesday he will not offer Jones-Drew a new contract, according to Florida Times-Union reports. "There's no decision here," Khan told the newspaper. "It's his choice. There's been very little for us to do rather than wait on whatever he might choose to do.
"There's more than 50 players under contract. There are other people under contract in management, coaches. Does that mean if you do it for one, you do it for everybody? Where do you draw the line?"Jones-Drew is entering his seventh season. He has 6,854 yards rushing, 2,473 yards receiving and 74 total touchdowns. He carried a career-high 343 times last season, averaging 4.7 yards even though defenses knew he was the focal point of Jacksonville's offense. "It's part of the business," quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. "We can't dwell on that. We can't harp on the fact that he's not here. He'll be here in due time. He'll learn the offense when he gets here. We know what Mo's going to bring to the table day in and day out, game in and game out. He led the league in rushing last year and he's going to do that again this year."
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press contributed to this report.