Canadian Football League

Sunday, February 27, 2005

They're not going to make him an offer he can't refuse - deals like that are reserved for starting quarterbacks and the Eskimos already have one - but if Khari Jones is interested in Edmonton, they just might be interested in him. When the Stampeders signed Henry Burris yesterday it spelled the end of Jones in Calgary, so the 2001 CFL MVP is looking for work.
"It's hard for me to say whether he does or he doesn't fit into our plans,'' said head coach Danny Maciocia.
"We're always looking to create as much competition as possible. He was only released a few hours ago so it's not something that's crossed my mind or the organization's mind as of right now, but can that change in the very near future? Potentially it could. It's possible.''
With the Eskimos as thin as they are at pivot, there's a definite need for experience: free agent Bart Hendricks isn't expected back and after Maas there's only third-stringer Jason Johnson, who's never started a CFL game. So the Eskimos are definitely in the market for depth.
But are their pockets deep enough for Jones (who'd have to seriously chop back his $350,000 Stamps deal) and could Jones get his head around the backup role?
"He's probably going to look for a destination where he feels he can start,'' said Maciocia. "He's going to shop himself around, I think. But if he can't find that destination, then chances are he's going to have to start settling for more of a backup role.
"But he needs to accept that between the ears before you impose it on him.''
Jones would provide solid insurance if Maas runs into more injury trouble, but how would the incumbent react to having a proven veteran looking over his shoulder?
"I know Jason well enough, and he'd probably say, 'Bring it on, bring as many as you like, I'll compete,' '' said Maciocia.
"That's who Jason Maas is, that's why I like Jason Maas and that's why his teammates respect him. He's the type of guy who never takes anything for granted. All he wants is an opportunity. Competition doesn't scare him. He's not afraid of what he brings to the table.''
It would still be a QB controversy waiting to happen.
"The moment you have two guys who have had success, regardless of which two they are, there is always going to be some form of controversy,'' said Maciocia.
"You just need to know how to handle it. We had that situation here for a short period of time with Ricky Ray and Jason. And I had it Montreal with Tracy Ham and Anthony Calvillo.
"You just need to know how to address it - you have to put the cards on the table and by doing so you're not going to have a problem.''


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