Has the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ recent success finally doused the flaming obsession of head coach/GM/VP of football operations/defensive coordinator Chris Jones with NFL retreads? Only time will tell. But judging by the players he’s pursued over the past nine months, a superstar reclamation project is clearly on his mind.
Chris Jones Is Obsessed with NFL Retreads
Started with Michael Vick
It was soon clear that Darian Durant would never show his face in the new Mosaic Stadium while Chris Jones led the team. That left the boss with the realization that he had no star talent to fill his quarterbacking void. Kevin Glenn would be a nice journeyman to get the green and white back to respectability, he brings neither the steak nor the sizzle of a Ricky Ray or Mike Reilly.
Jones quickly tried jumping into bed with Michael Vick’s people. They weren’t interested. Vick wasn’t interested. Idea fails. Waste of time. Back to the drawing board. But Jones kept looking.
Then Vince Young
Next came the Vince Young sideshow. The guy was clearly out of shape, and he had much bigger fish to fry like opening a real estate company, speaking to wealthy University of Texas football donors, and whining about how Jeff Fisher railroaded him out of the NFL. (Because apparently Fisher had a hand in his release from Buffalo, Cleveland and Green Bay, too.)
It was entertaining while it lasted. We even got to see Leigh freaking Steinberg in Regina for crying out loud! But Vince proved to be more sizzle than steak: he tore his hamstring, then picked up his ball and went home. The guy didn’t even want to rehab in Regina.
Didn’t End There
At this point, you’d assume the obsession with this kind of experiment would end, no? Wrong. Enter Trent Richardson. The onetime Cleveland Browns saviour NFL fantasy king of a running back turned unemployed-washed-up-spoiled-brat decided he wanted or maybe even needed to play football again.
Meanwhile the Riders offence started to pick up steam without any help from these retreads. But this didn’t deter Jones from taking a crack at Richardson. He sent Richardson a plane ticket and invited him to saddle on up for a trip to the 306. But when Richardson realized it was Saskatchewan so it wasn’t going to be on ESPN, he backed out, just like all the other NFL divas did.
Why is Jones Obsessed with Washed up NFL Players?
Why on earth would a couple of intelligent football people like Chris Jones and player personnel director John Murphy invest so much time in over-the-hill names from the past? They have little to no interest in playing CFL ball, and nothing to offer Rider priders in Saskatchewan.
Is it satisfaction of their own egos? Perhaps. Looking for attention from eyes south of the border with the hopes of creating opportunities in the NCAA and NFL? More likely. That would help explain why they pursued pro football hall of fame Cris Carter’s son Duron when others didn’t.
Or maybe it’s just the two of them trying to outsmart everybody else by thinking outside the box hoping that once, maybe just once they will strike lightning in a bottle.
It’s entertaining, if not fruitful. It’s clear this obsession to bring an old has-been NFL star back to life remains a fantasy for this head coach. And as someone on the road to turning around his second pro football program in less than four years, Jones has earned the right to try things his way, whatever his motives.
Will any of these experiments work? Probably not. Could one of them possibly pan out? Yes, one day they might re-energize the right guy and make more than just headlines out of it. But make no mistake, Chris Jones will not rest until he rejuvenates an NFL star.
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