Former UCLA back Maurice Jones-Drew announces retirement from NFL

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew to retire after nine bruising seasons in the NFL

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after nine seasons in the league with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders.

"After much discussion with my family and business team during the offseason, I've decided to retire from the National Football League," Jones-Drew posted on Twitter. "The past nine years were absolutely amazing! I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me through my NFL journey."

Jones-Drew was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars after three years at UCLA, where he had been named a consensus All-American and led the then-Pac-10 in 427 punt return yards. He also recorded 26 touchdowns on 2,503 rushing yards.

In his rookie season with Jacksonville, Jones-Drew rushed for 13 touchdowns -- fourth most in the league -- and caught two passes for scores. 

Over a three-year stretch for the Jaguars, he averaged more than 300 carries per season and put up career-bests in rushing yards (1,391, 1,324, 1,606).

Jones-Drew often slipped behind his larger offensive line teammates and found holes slightly large enough to accommodate the 5-foot-7, 210-pound back. And when they weren't big enough, he punished his would-be tacklers with big hits to get into the secondary and break for long touchdowns.

Over nine seasons, Jones-Drew had 12 rushing touchdowns of more than 30 yards and returned two kicks for scores from 93 and 100 yards. However, he tasted the postseason just once, in 2007, where the Jaguars were eliminated in the divisional round.

Jones-Drew returned to Oakland, where he grew up, to play for the Oakland Raiders last season, but suffered a broken hand in the season-opener and lost his job as a starter, carrying the ball just 43 times for 96 yards.

Jones-Drew finishes his career with 8,167 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns. He also caught 346 passes for 2,944 yards and 11 scores.

"Football has been a central part of my life for the past 24 years," said Jones-Drew, who turns 30 this month. "But, now I'm excited about and looking forward to the next chapter in my life."

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

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