On Chris Jones

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to The Waggle this week, I think you should (and  subscribe while you’re at it!). James Cybulski and Davis Sanchez had a pretty candid conversation with Riders head coach and GM Chris Jones who in my humble opinion, is an absolute beauty.

Between Mark’s CFL Week in Saskatchewan, Farewell Mosaic, the signing of Duron Carter and Vince Young, the opening of the extraordinary Mosaic Stadium and Max sending me the registration link to Miss National Cornbread Queen yesterday… Rider Nation and Chris Jones have been top of mind.

If the last example meant nothing to you, let me rewind a bit. Last year Max and I had the privilege of helping escort the Grey Cup to Chris’ home town of South Pittsburg, TN for the National Cornbread Festival and had quite a time – much of it was filmed for this video .

James and Davis got Chris to speak candidly about some of the news making moments from the last year. Fans, you will enjoy this conversation because you’re going to get to know Chris Jones the person, not just the dude on the sideline in the black polo. With Jones in the news and our time with him in TN top of mind here are a few things I’ve learned about the Roughriders coach and GM.

Chris likes rap music, specifically Biggie Tupac, 2 Chainz and some Drake.

He’s big on second chances, in football and in life. In South Pittsburg, we met many people Chris had hired or helped because they had struggled.

Chris likes motorcycles and has a cool garage where he rebuilds, repairs and tinkers with them.

He’s a pretty good cook, he was smoking BBQ on our first night in Tennessee and it was the best barbecue I’ve ever had.

He’s a ‘more the merrier’ type of guy and loves having his staff,  players and family around.

He’s grateful for football and for this league. Chris talks on The Waggle about the government housing he grew up in down the street from his home. He drove Max and I by during our visit and it was a raw experience I could hardly believe we were sharing. He makes it clear he never forgets where he came from and is  proud of what he’s accomplished. But Chris is humble, truly.

Chris loves football. He lives it, he breaths it he’s got it on the mind…a lot. Like most football coaches I’ve met in this league he views the game and understands it in a way I wish could, if only for 10 seconds.

Chris has a wonderful and supportive family and extended family who are kind and welcoming. They insisted we cancel our hotel reservation in Chattanooga so we could stay right in town. We did not, but the gesture has stuck with me.

Chris has a southern drawl, you will never tire of it.

I hope this season we have a chance through The Waggle, interviews, or trips like the one we took to Tennessee so learn more about the men and women who make up this league! We see the smallest fraction of who they are on the sidelines and on the field. They have some pretty cool stories and as a league look forward to telling more of them.