There are tons of young guys on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster heading into training camp, but perhaps the player on the roster with the most to prove in the 2013 season is veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew was cleared to return to action by the Jaguars doctors on Tuesday in advance of the start of training camp following surgery on a Lisfranc injury he suffered in Week 7 of the 2012 season. A clean bill of health sets him up for what is sure to be a very important season for the veteran running back.
In a market in which we have seen veteran running backs pushed out in recent years, Jones-Drew is entering the final year of a five-year contract he signed prior to the 2009 season. If Jones-Drew wants to score one more deal before his tank runs dry, he needs to prove in 2013 that not only is he capable of staying healthy but that he is still capable of being a workhorse back that can produce at the level he did back in 2011 when he led the NFL in rushing yards.
Of course being cleared to return is only the first step for Jones-Drew, who admitted in a press conference on Tuesday that he was not quite back into football shape. The Jaguars coaching staff has a tough job this camp to find the right balance to get Jones-Drew back into football shape without giving him too much of a workload too quickly.
Having a healthy Jones-Drew back will certainly help a rushing offense that finished towards the bottom of the league in 2012 without him.
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