CSN Chicago has an extensive interview with the running back of the Bears' weekend opponent Jacksonville Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew. In it, MJD said he thinks his contract holdout prior to the start of the season actually helped him by saving his body from extra hits.
Holdouts usually don't help running backs. Chris Johnson hasn't been the same back for the Tennessee Titans since holding out a few seasons ago. Time away from training camp turned Jamal Anderson from an MVP-caliber running back into an out-of-shape dud after holding out following the Atlanta Falcons' 1999 Super Bowl run.
That hasn't happend to Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 352 yards on 72 attempts (a 4.9 yards-per-carry average) and a touchdown for the Jaguars through four weeks. Having a later start to the season helped him stay fresh, he said:
"I might be a little bit fresher, obviously, not taking those hits. But I feel I've hit my stride. This is the fastest start I've had, running the ball, so that's a big deal."
Probably not what NFL officials want to hear -- a player saying holding out actually helped him on the field. But that's exactly what Jones-Drew claims:
"To me, it just seems like, the holdout, yeah, it was for the money. But, at the same time, my body stayed healthy, and it was less hits I was taking at training camp. Less cutting. Less cutting on my knees. The little things you'll take during training camp."
The Bears (3-1) have a 3:05 p.m. CT kickoff Sunday in Jacksonville to face MJD and the Jaguars . The game will be televised by FOX.