We remember Eric Dickerson for being a legendary, Hall of Fame running back whose place among the pantheon of greats still remains intact. Seemingly lost in his success, however, were two major holdouts that he orchestrated, netting him a pair of contract extensions.
Maurice Jones-Drew was hoping for the same result.
The All-Pro runner reported to the Jaguars on Sunday following a 38-day stalemate, but did so without a revised pact in place. With two years remaining on his current deal and a new owner playing (his version of) hardball, some thought it was a fruitless endeavor.
Not Dickerson, who explained on NFL Network’s Labor Day edition of “NFL AM” that he understood MJD’s plight.
“I think that when you do hold out, you have to be ready to sit out,” Dickerson said, via NFL.com. “I think any time you make that decision, that’s the player’s call. I cant say ‘yes or no’ if it was good for him to do it, but you have to be ready to hold to your guns because that’s the only way that you’re going to get what want.
“I didn’t want to hold out, I don’t think he wants to hold out, but he did and he didn’t get rewarded.”
Jones-Drew isn’t expected to start Week 1 and likely will need a few weeks to get his legs under him, an obvious consequence of missing training camp and the preseason. Dickerson thinks the NFL’s reigning rushing champ doesn’t — and shouldn’t — regret his decision, as, with any job, “it’s about getting paid.”
“I don’t think he’ll regret (holding out),” Dickerson added. “I mean, what’s the regret?
“I think a lot of guys hold out for different reasons. Contracts, or they’re not happy with their playing time or whatever, but when you make that decision, I don’t think there’s any regret because no one looks at you any different. Players understand what that’s all about. It’s about getting paid, that’s what it’s about. Football is a job. I think a lot of fans think of it as a sport, as a past time, but that is his job and that’s something that he makes his livelihood off of.”
The 27-year-old may have lost the battle, but the war is far from finished. This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Jones-Drew’s contract squabbles, and another stellar season could force the organization to finally pay up. Meanwhile, he’ll continue to do what he does best, chipping away at another Hall of Famer’s record.