Make or Break Year for Jones

It's those quiet moments, when he's by himself, going through a workout on his own or maybe when he's at his house, just lounging around. That's when Jaguars fullback Greg Jones has to fight the urge to let his mind wander and play the 'what if' game.

What comes to the forefront is what his NFL life might be like without all the injuries he's suffered in his career. The list is extensive and dates back to his college days at Florida State. That's where he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, a broken hand and a shoulder injury that also required surgery.

Even with all the injuries, the Jaguars saw enough upside to draft him in the second round in 2004. But two years later, the injury jinx hit again.

He tore the ACL in his left knee and missed the entire 2006 season. The knees have held up since then, but the last two seasons, it's been his ankles that have been a problem. He's finished both of the last two years on injured reserve with ankle injuries, though he has been able to play a total of 25 games in those two seasons.

"Like I told my wife the other night, I just want to go through a year healthy. During the offseason, I don't want to be in Jacksonville (rehabbing). I don't want to rehab. I don't want to have any surgeries," Jones said. "I just want to come out for the season healthy and just win. Just compete and help my team win. When you're injured and you're on the sidelines or on the IR, it's kind of tough.

"I think about that (if he had not had the injuries) when I'm working out, when I'm at home by myself. 'What if I didn't have my second knee injury? What if I didn't have the first?' You can play that game with yourself all day and you'll go crazy. It is what it is. It's life. You've got to take the punches, the good and the bad, and just roll with it."

In his first two seasons with the Jaguars when he was healthy, Jones had 213 rushing attempts and gained 737 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. But since that time, his opportunity to carry the ball has been limited.

Once he suffered the knee injury prior to the start of the '06 season, he's had but 48 carries and gained just 155 yards while scoring just twice. Instead of serving as the backup running back, Jones has been relegated to the fullback spot where his role is to clear the way for first Fred Taylor and the last two years, Maurice Jones-Drew.

It's an important part of the Jaguars offense however, and one that the team counts on Jones to fulfill, says Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.

"When you see Greg and when Greg's on the field and healthy, he's one of the better blocking fullbacks in the league," Del Rio said. "He does have the ability to run as a former halfback. He does have good hands catching the ball out of the backfield. He's got the size to match up with some of the bigger 3-4 outside linebacker, rush-end type guys that we face.

"Greg's been a man when he's been able to stay on the field and be healthy. We just need him to find a way to stay healthy and that's been a challenge for him."


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