Former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew calls it quits after 9 seasons

Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 8,071 and 68 touchdowns during his 8 seasons with the Jaguars.

Thomas J. Russo/Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement Thursday.

Jones-Drew was one of two big free-agent acquisitions for the Oakland Raiders last season who are now gone from the team. Defensive end LaMarr Woodley was released.

The two were brought in last March as general manager Reggie McKenzie targeted veterans to help rebuild the struggling organization. But many of those players failed to reach the Pro Bowl levels from their past and the Raiders won just three games last season.

Jones-Drew rushed for 96 yards on 43 carries in 12 games in 2014. It was a major disappointment for him and the team as he came into the season healthy and excited about his return to his native Bay Area.

But he was unable to get back to the level he had reached in Jacksonville earlier in his career, when he ranked second in the NFL with 4,321 yards rushing in a three-year span from 2009-11.

The 29-year-old Jones-Drew had 1,313 yards in his final three seasons — fewer than he had in each of the previous three years.

"After much discussion with my family and business team during this offseason, I’ve decided to retire from the National Football League," Jones-Drew said in a statement released on his Twitter account. "The past nine 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."