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Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) runs with the ball as Tennessee Titans defends during the second half at EverBank Field. Tennessee Titans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency: Pittsburgh Steelers Reportedly Host Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew

Prior to Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been linked to many free agent running backs, Green Bay’s James Starks excepted.

That silence was disrupted when ESPN’s Adam Schefter delivered this little nugget via Twitter:

Maurice Jones-Drew will be 29 next week, and he’s spent his entire NFL career with the Jaguars, who drafted him in 2006. The 5-foot-8 fireplug peaked from 2009-11, when he surpassed 1,300 rushing yards in three straight seasons.

Jones-Drew made the AFC Pro Bowl team in each of those years, capped by a first-team all-NFL selection in 2011 after posting 1,606 rushing yards and 1,980 total from scrimmage.

Injuries limited Jones-Drew to six games in 2012, followed by a 2013 marked by decreased usage and production. The former UCLA star started 15 games, but his carries (234) and rushing yards (803) were at their lowest levels in a healthy season since 2008.

The Steelers’ running game improved later in the 2013 season as rookie Le’Veon Bell rounded into form following an injury, but backup Jonathan Dwyer signed with Arizona last week. The Steelers probably feel Jones-Drew could still be a useful back in a part-time situation.

Related: Steelers find themselves in difficult position to rebuild

As is usually the case in Pittsburgh, the decision will come down to a cost-benefit analysis. According to OverTheCap.com, the Steelers are about $2.7 million under the projected 2014 cap, with some space still necessary to sign this year’s pending draft picks.

Keep it here on City of Champions for more coverage of NFL free agency from a Pittsburgh perspective.

Tags: Maurice Jones-Drew NFL Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers

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