JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the Jaguars get back on the practice field on Monday morning, their star running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be with the team as it prepares for the regular season opener in Minnesota one week from today.
Jones-Drew says he has decided to end his long holdout because of his love of football and because he didn't want a potential absence during the regular season to be a distraction for the team. He also said during a Sunday press conference that he did what he thought was right and that "no one in this room can tell me I was wrong."
The NFL's leading rusher from last season has stayed away from EverBank Field for the entire offseason. Even though he has two years remaining on his current contract, he was hoping for a new deal although it appears that he will not be getting one.
Mike Mularkey has said that Rashad Jennings will probably start at running back for the Jaguars on Sunday vs. the Vikings. Jones-Drew's playing time will depend on what kind of shape he is in and how quickly he can learn the new offense.
On Sunday morning, Jennings tweeted the following: "Just shared some love with in the locker room. Glad to see you back - Let's work brah!"
Here's a statement from team owner Shad Khan:
"I am delighted that Maurice is back with the Jaguars. I know Maurice will be very impressed with the winning environment and attitude that Coach Mularkey has created, and I am sure MJD's teammates are fired up to welcome him home. The Jaguars are a better football team today than we were yesterday, and now our entire franchise can move forward together and as one. Nothing more needs to be said. Go Jaguars!"
General manager Gene Smith added:
"It's great to have Maurice back in the building. He has been a valuable part of this organization, and his presence in the locker room and on the field will make those around him better. We're glad to now have everyone in and working as a team to win football games."
Finally, here's what head coach Mike Mularkey said:
"I had a really good visit this morning with Maurice and I welcomed him in. It was good to finally speak face-to-face. I can tell he's ready to go, so we'll be working with him to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. It's great to be able to proceed with our preparation for the opener and the season beyond with Maurice as part of the plans."