Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement on March 5 after nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL).
Maurice Jones-Drew has retired from the NFL.
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USA Today Sports' Lindsay H. Jones confirmed the news on Thursday, March 5. This occurs just weeks shy of Jones-Drew's 30th birthday.
Jones-Drew took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the league after nine seasons:
"After much discussion with my family and business team during this offseason, I've decided to retire from the National Football League. The past 9 years were absolutely amazing! I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me throughout my NFL journey.
"To my fans, and NFL fans worldwide, you are the absolute greatest! But for you, our league would not exist. Football has been a central part of my life for the past 24 years. But, now I'm excited about and looking forward to the next chapter of my life."
Jones-Drew then wrote,"All good things come to an end!" below his uploaded statement on Twitter.
According to the USA Today Sports update, Jones-Drew, an Oakland native, also informed the Raiders about his decision. His retirement will prevent a reunion on the field with new Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio, who drafted Jones-Drew in 2006 when he was still with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Del Rio hailed Jones-Drew as one of his "all-time favorites," per Jones. He quipped,"He's one of my all-time favorites. I mean, you're talking about a guy that came in here and made an impact on this league."
Jones-Drew was primarily known for his eight seasons with the Jaguars. He signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract with Oakland last year but broke his hand during the Raiders' first game of the season. His performance suffered as a result as attested by his 96 yards rushing on the year, per ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter Bill Williamson.
Even if Jones-Drew suited up for the Raiders in 2015, there was a huge chance they would have released him, Williamson says. He concludes his NFL career with 8.167 rushing yards. Williamson stresses "it is the sixth-most rushing yards in the NFL over the past nine seasons."
Jones stresses Jones-Drew's retirement will pave the way for Latavius Murray to become the Raiders' featured running back in 2015. Murray averaged 5.2 yards per carry last season.
In addition to Jones-Drew's departure, the Raiders also released defensive end LaMarr Woodley on March 6. Both moves have increased Oakland's cap space to $64 million. The free-agency period is set to begin on Tuesday, March 10, per ESPN.
Williamson reports the Raiders are also looking at the upcoming NFL draft on April 30 and free agency to beef up their running corps. Murray is a candidate to take over Jones-Drew, but is still inexperienced. The oft-injured Darren McFadden is a free agent himself and is not expected to return to Oakland.
Jones-Drew made a name for himself dating back to his high school days for the De La Salle Spartans in Concord, CA. Back then, he played running back, return specialist and linebacker for the Spartans, which never lost with him in tow, per CSN Bay Area's Scott Bair.
Jones-Drew then became a consensus All-American with the UCLA Bruins in 2005. After the Jaguars drafted him nine years ago, he made three Pro Bowl teams during his eight years in Jacksonville. Bair adds Jones-Drew "was well respected by teammates and the press" and "was also heavily involved in the community with charitable endeavors he plans to continue in retirement."
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