Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL today, because nine years’ worth of hits will weigh even on a 29-year-old, and because nothing gold can stay.
Known just as Maurice Drew when he was at UCLA, the 5-foot-7 back led the Bruins in rushing for three years, collecting 3,322 scrimmage yards and setting an NCAA single-season record with a 28.5 yards per punt return average in 2005. He was named a unanimous All-American before becoming a three-time Pro Bowler with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He remains the last UCLA player to return a punt for a touchdown, doing so on an 81-yarder against Cal in 2005.
Freshman running back Milton Knox, receiving the majority of his carries with the third team, looked impressive, even drawing comparisons to a certain other dimunitive back from Westwood.
“I take all the running backs, all the great ones – Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, even Maurice Jones-Drew – and put in my flavor with it,” Knox said. “(Jones-Drew and I) have similar styles, both short, both run low to the ground. We run hard.”
Knox certainly did on Friday, gaining 48 yards on eight carries to lead the Bruins. On one play, Knox was buried five yards behind the line, but slipped the tackle and turned it into a three-yard gain.
“You don’t get many reps, but you have to fight when you get them,” Knox said. “You have to live up to them. Today was the first day I felt comfortable. I wasn’t thinking that much.”