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By Vicki Hall,
EDMONTON – It didn’t take long for Khari Jones to find work after the Edmonton Eskimos cut the personable quarterback over the weekend.
Less than 72 hours, in fact.
Done with throwing footballs for a living, Jones will hold a microphone as a sideline reporter for the CFL on CBC TV. His debut comes on Saturday as the Toronto Argonauts host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Rogers Centre.
“There’s only a short time that you can play this game,” said Jones, a veteran of nine CFL seasons. “It’s definitely hard to realize that you’re not playing, but everyone, at some point, retires.
“This is a good way to stay with the game and be a part of it.”
In honour of his new job, The Journal decided Tuesday to ask Jones some hard-hitting questions to kick off his new career:
Journal: So Khari, how do you think your shoulder will withstand the demands of holding a microphone?
K.J.: (Laughing) I think I’ll be OK. Hopefully, it doesn’t pose any problems. I can use my left shoulder too. I can be ambidextrous.
Journal: It’s your job to talk to Don Matthews when he comes off the bench and the Montreal Alouettes are losing at halftime. How is that going to go?
K.J.: Oh, it will go fine. It will go fine. Don gives the same stuff to everybody. So I’ll just give him the question, and he’ll hate it, because he doesn’t want to talk to anybody at that point. But I’ll take it in stride. I’ve had people throwing darts at me for a lot of years now — coaches and media and different things like that. So I won’t be afraid of a coach who wants to get mad at me for asking about half-time adjustments.
Journal: You’ll see coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons this weekend in Toronto. Think he might give you a hug?
K.J.: Who knows? He may. He’s the nicest guy in football. I guess it depends if they’re winning or losing at halftime. Who knows? I’ll see how he’s feeling.
Journal: What about Danny Maciocia? Are you going to ask him some tough questions, seeing as he cut you twice in the last two years?
K.J.: Yeah, maybe I need to. Maybe something like, ‘Would things be better with that Khari Jones guy in there? Maybe you guys wouldn’t be losing at halftime?’
But no. I’m just kidding. I have a lot of respect for coach Maciocia. I’ve never taken any of this personally at all. Thinking about it, I never got a scholarship offer out of high school and no football team wanted me out of college. If somebody would have told me I would have the chance to be the MVP of the CFL and throw more touchdowns in a season than anybody but Doug Flutie — hey, I would have taken that in a minute. So anything else was icing on the cake, believe me.
My body held out for as long as it could, and now it’s time to do something else.