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Former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew now in LA Rams radio booth

By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider

Maurice Jones-Drew began to make plans for his career after football while his name was still echoing inside New York’s Radio City Music Hall after it was announced he was the second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2006 NFL Draft.

“My agent at the time told me when I got drafted, ‘You’re on the bottom end of your career in football, and so we need to focus on what you’re going to be able to do after football,’” Jones-Drew said.

The running back’s focus was clearly on broadcasting and he took advantage of programs offered by NFL Player Engagement and the league’s broadcasting departments.

“I did the Broadcast Boot Camp my second year,” Jones-Drew said. “I got a chance to get into that and create some relationships. And then it really went from there and just started doing the call, watching ESPN and going to NFL Network all the time.

“I had my own TV show and radio show in Jacksonville. TV for two years, radio show for a year, and then I ended up getting a deal with Sirius (XM Radio) where I could talk fantasy football.”

The NFL Legend kept the show, Runnin’ with MJD, throughout his eight seasons with the Jaguars and one season with the Oakland Raiders. He retired in March of 2015 with 8,167 yards and 81 total touchdowns. A three-time Pro Bowler, Jones-Drew holds Jacksonville’s record for single-season rushing yards (1,606 in 2011) and total touchdowns (81).

Only five months after retiring from the game, Jones-Drew was hired by the NFL Network to be a studio analyst. And despite the broadcasting experience he had gained in Jacksonville and with Sirius, he essentially found himself as a rookie again.

“I think the biggest thing, and they’ve said it too, is no one really comes in fully prepared,” Jones-Drew said. “I did 10 years of radio, two years of TV, and when I got to the network, I wasn’t ready. So it was about just getting reps. It was just constantly attacking the media and the broadcast side the same way I did the football side.”

And like on the football side, Jones-Drew’s talents were recognized and appreciated. Even with very little experience as a game color analyst, the Los Angeles Rams felt that Jones-Drew would be an ideal choice as the game analyst on their radio network.

“They heard me on Sirius and thought it’d be a good idea. They called and offered the job and we took it,” Jones-Drew said. “I’ve done little things, but nothing to that extent. With the network, our head producer of the department that I’m under, David Nickoll, got me a deal with Nickelodeon, where I did that for (the celebrity) flag-football (game held during the Super Bowl weekend).

“It was something where I had an idea of what it would be. At different Broadcast Boot Camps, I did that as well. That was kind of the part I excelled at, as a game analyst.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity to be in this market and for the Rams to think of me to come and help them. But it’s just a different opportunity, a different challenge that I can attack. I want to understand as much about the broadcasting business as I did the NFL. So this is just another avenue that I need to learn and understand how to go about it.”

Besides the job with the Rams, Jones-Drew will continue to work for the NFL Network. Among other programs, he will be on its new fantasy show, Fantasy & Friends, which will air Monday-Friday (except on Thursdays) beginning Monday, September 5th.

Jones-Drew now hopes to be as prolific off the field as he was on it.

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