Jaguars donating money for lack of TD celebrations
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)
Maurice Jones-Drew has been briefed. He has heard all about Mike Mularkey's touchdown policy, the one in which the Jacksonville Jaguars coach donates money to charity every time a player scores and hands the ball to an official without any kind of celebration.
Jones-Drew chuckled when asked whether he's going to comply with Mularkey's request.
''We're entertainers, but at the same time I'm coachable,'' Jones-Drew said this week.
Of everyone in Jacksonville's locker room, Jones-Drew could have the toughest time playing it straight. After all, the three-time Pro Bowl running back has celebrated nearly all his 74 career touchdowns in unique fashion.
He mimicked NBA star LeBron James' ''chalk toss'' after scoring in Cleveland last year, an animated celebration that drew a chorus of boos. He was fined $7,500 in 2007 for using the goal post to simulate an ATM withdrawal.
He has danced in the end zone from Day 1, offering up versions of the ''Cat Daddy,'' the ''Macarena,'' and the ''Ickey Shuffle.'' He also has performed a hula dance and even paid tribute to an NFL Network host.
Jones-Drew isn't saying whether it will end under the team's new regime.
''I have to get in there first before we can answer this question,'' Jones-Drew said. ''It doesn't make sense to answer a question when I haven't been in there yet. I haven't even scored in practice yet, so we'll see how I do in practice first and then we'll move on to the game.''
Mularkey will donate $250 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville every time one of his players hands the ball to an official after scoring. The Jaguars Foundation will match the donation.
''It's a pretty cool deal,'' rookie receiver Justin Blackmon said. ''Hopefully, we score a bunch of points every week and give a lot of money to charity.''
Mularkey came up with the idea during his first head-coaching stint in Buffalo (2004-05).
''They started giving excessive celebrating 15-yard penalties,'' he said. ''I thought, `How can I make sure our guys don't do something ridiculous and create a penalty that will really hurt our football team?'
''I just thought it's a classy and professional way of doing things by handing the ball to the official by saying, `Hey, hang onto this. I'll be back again.' Everybody wins. It looks good.''
When players spiked the ball in Buffalo, Mularkey said they would apologize and pay $250. Jacksonville's mascot paid $250 after the team's preseason opener because he knocked the ball out of receiver Cecil Shorts' hands following a touchdown.
''He apologized and handed over the cash,'' Mularkey said. ''That's really neat to see.''
Jones-Drew, of course, could stick to his typical post-touchdown routine and pay the $250. He is due to make $4.45 million this season, so that seems like pocket change to him.
Then again, Jones-Drew might be fed up with giving away money.
Mularkey could be fining MJD up to $1.2 million for his 38-day holdout ($30,000 a day maximum) and missing a mandatory, three-day minicamp ($20,000 a day maximum) in April. Both sides have declined to reveal how much, if any, Jones-Drew has been fined.
Jones-Drew starts the season Sunday at Minnesota. Although he will open as the backup to Rashad Jennings, it doesn't mean he hasn't thought about his touchdown options.
''I'm just trying to get there first,'' he said. ''Let me get to the end zone first and then we'll definitely talk about it. We obviously have a lot more to talk about than what happens when you get in the end zone. I think the playbook is one thing. Getting adjusted to all the rules around here is another. The practice style is another.
''Just one step at a time, that's all I can tell you. It is one step at a time. I understand the rules. It's been a long time since I've been in there, too.''
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