Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said he never meant to take a shot at Bears quarterback Jay Cutler or question his toughness.
Jones-Drew told the Associated Press on Monday that his tweet Sunday comparing Cutler to former Florida coach Urban Meyer was merely a joke — one that clearly backfired.
‘‘Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now...When the going gets tough........QUIT,’’ Jones-Drew posted to his Twitter page.
Jones-Drew, who missed the Jaguars’ last two games with torn cartilage in his left knee, said he had received death threats and plenty of ill will from Bears fans. The Bears also defended Cutler, who was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament Monday.
Jones-Drew was caught off-guard by the backlash.
‘‘I never attacked him, called him soft or a sore loser,’’ Jones-Drew said in a telephone interview Monday. ‘‘I never questioned his toughness. I think people took my joke out of context. I was taking a shot at Florida fans.’’
Jones-Drew said he was unaware anything was wrong with Cutler when he sent the tweet.
‘‘All I thought about was being in that position, being in that game,’’ Jones-Drew said. ‘‘I’ve never been in a title game, so my first thought was, ‘Why wouldn’t you want to play in that situation?’ ’’