Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew thought about calling it a career at the age of 28 after last season.
"For awhile, I was contemplating retirement because I just didn't feel like I had it anymore," Jones-Drew told the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer earlier this month.
Jones-Drew had just experienced a couple of trying seasons. In 2012, he was unable to play after six games due to a debilitating foot injury that required surgery. In 2013, Jones-Drew returned from the injury but didn't run with a burst any longer. He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, a steep drop from any of his eight previous seasons.
But Jones-Drew credits his trainer, Mike Blasquez, for erasing those negatives thoughts and helping him believe that he can still be a great player in this league. The belief started to come in January following a string of strenuous workouts that left Jones-Drew vomiting on five consecutive days. Yet, that's when Jones-Drew knew he was not finished with the NFL, because he kept returning to those workouts, wanting to get back to the Pro Bowl form of his younger days. He now has a renewed desire to make everyone else who doubts him feel ill.
"It doesn't bother me that people have written me off, but it's just how they've done it," Jones-Drew said. "I understand if I had played bad the year before, then played the way I did [in 2013]. Then, I could understand people saying, 'Oh, he's done.' But I was leading the league in rushing before I broke my foot."
Jones-Drew admitted that he is truly healthy for the first time in a long time and is in the best shape of his life.
"I've rededicated myself to my craft again," he said.
Plenty of fantasy owners doubt MJD, too. Although he will probably lead the Raiders in carries this season, he is currently being drafted like an RB4. It's reasonable because he hasn't put anything good on tape since October 2012, and the tread on his tires is probably low after a punishing career. Also, Oakland's offensive line has plenty to prove as well.
I'm happy that MJD is feeling better about his health and his abilities, but it's tough to buy in at this stage of his career, as part of a timeshare with Darren McFadden . I think he is being drafted correctly.