Chris Jones wore several hats during his tenure with the Saskatchewan Roughriders – general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator.
He arrived in Regina with plenty of fanfare, too. He was a Grey Cup-winning coach and a defensive guru. Some even went as far as to label him the CFL’s version of coaching genius Bill Belichick, he of the New England Patriots dynasty.
Jones was expected to win more championships with the Riders, though he failed to reach the title game in each of the three seasons he barked on the sidelines at Mosaic Stadium.
Jones resigned from his Riders post on Tuesday, the same day it was announced he will assume a defensive coaching role with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Maybe he’ll convince the coaches there to sign Vince Young.
Jones was paid well by the Riders, though I feel he was overpaid for what he delivered. Zero championships. He cost the team even more money in league-issued fines. He also was dishonest with the media on several occasions.
But Jones was good at one thing – he played the villain perfectly. He was easy to dislike. Maybe it was his all-black wardrobe and crusty personality.
He was the ideal guy to cut beloved stars, champions, all-time Riders greats, team leaders and community ambassadors like Darian Durant, Weston Dressler, John Chick and Chris Getzlaf.
Perhaps it was those moves that cemented Jones’ reputation with many Riders fans as a hated man in town. Former coaches Ken Miller and Kent Austin, both beloved during their time with the Riders, didn’t fit the profile of being the bad guy who could make such controversial decisions.
But Jones didn’t care. He easily shrugged off the criticism from fans. He was the perfect guy for that. In fact, Jones rarely acknowledged the fanbase and was as noticeable in the community as a Sasquatch.
For that, don’t expect Jones to bid farewell to the people of this province or the fanbase. He’s just not that kind of guy.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, King Jones.