It’s now or never for Chris Jones

Since being hired to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders football operations department, Chris Jones has made one thing abundantly clear: he’s willing to do just about anything in the name of winning football games.

Some of those decisions weren’t popular, such as releasing fan favourites who may have been past their prime, but are finally paying dividends. Ahead of this season, the Riders look to have quality depth for the first time in a number of years after getting the cap in order.

Doing whatever it takes to win comes at a cost though. Jones has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar more than once in just over a year on the job, most recently for practicing with suspended players and meeting with Johnny Manziel’s publicist. Manziel is of course on the Ticats neg list, so that’s a no-no.

Jones’ actions have cost the Riders more than $100,000 in fines over the last 12 months. That’s not a huge sum of money for a team like the Riders, who have plenty of coin, but’s likely getting a little old for team president Craig Reynolds. Neither Jones or Reynolds have commented on the latest fine, beyond a brief canned statement sent out in a press release, but defending the Jones’ approach is getting more difficult as the infractions pile up.

This year could go a long way in determining Jones’ future in the province. If Jones is a man who will do what it takes to win, now it’s time to actually start winning some football games. As long as that happens, Jones, who has one year left on his contract after this year, will likely be rewarded with some kind of extension. Following the letter of the law will probably help his cause too.

If the wins don’t come, then the ball is in Reynolds’ court.

As the Riders get ready to open a new stadium, there has to be plenty of pressure on Reynolds and the rest of the organization to win games and get the fan base excited. We’ve seen teams in this league and others, move into new buildings and fall flat on their face because the product on the field didn’t back up the new surroundings. You can argue that Winnipeg is still trying to dig out of that hole in their community and the Argos did themselves no favours this year at BMO. That’s not to say the team will go into financial distress if they fail to make the playoffs once again, but there’s a real chance they might not be able to take full advantage of all of the new revenue streams at new Mosaic Stadium as the fans get fed up with losing and you can bet that matters.

Winning solves a lot of problems – especially if it’s all that matters.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based writer and broadcaster who has spent the last five years experiencing (and covering) Riderville.
Joel Gasson
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Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (98 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based writer and broadcaster who has spent the last five years experiencing (and covering) Riderville.

92 Comments on It’s now or never for Chris Jones

  1. i said it last year on two fronts, there are too coaches in this league i despise, one is jones, now the people in rough rider country knows the reasons the als did not make him a head coach a few years back, and the other one is kent austin in hamilton, he really can do the talk, but if he doesn,t win it all this year, i really can see him being let go. as a cfl fan, its only my opinion.is it june yet. lol.

  2. C’mon Stampland/mrnehnehincoherent – let r rip with your derogatory comments about Jones and awaken the masses!

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 4:14 pm //

      What is there to say? I don’t think this would come as a surprise. Win or not Jones tenure is likely short. Lose he’s fired win and his stock goes up and he’ll bolt at a better (maybe NCAA) opportunity.

  3. JJ Barnagle // April 29, 2017 at 11:09 am //

    Who cares. Just win.

  4. I don’t think one can dismiss the $100k because the Riders have lots of coin. They have a lot of revenue which is different from net income. They have by far the biggest expenses in the CFL, a lot of them fixed, & a large999 portion of their revenue is merchandise, a variable expense. That can change in a hurry, for good or bad. Ask the Oilers how things change with a McDavid or a winning club. It can go the other way. Beyond Jones playing fast & loose with Rider coin (fines & 15 coaches – really???), there is an increasingly bigger disenchantment with his negative impact on the Rider brand. The Rider popularity has its roots in the Riders having been, if not the 1st choice, the 2nd choice of a lot of fans outside Saskatchewan because everyone likes the underdog & they were hard not to love because of their blue collar work ethic. They are fast becoming the bullies on the block with an unbecoming sense of entitlement best embodied by Chris Jones & given credence by his actions. Even now an article can hardly be written without a word slipped in rather nonchalantly about their coin. We could use a little humility – fact is we’re a last place team & I don’t see a roster @this point that changes much.

    • Bullies?

    • Well said EW! The Riders may have a good level of revenue but I suspect they also have the highest team expenses outside of the players salaries which of course are capped. A HUGE coaching staff AND scouting staff plus the trips that Jones has made with all of his staff for various reasons – and I’m not talking about normal scouting costs. The new stadium certainly should bring in a nice revenue stream (sure has helped in Hamilton) but also probably comes with higher operating costs for the team. At some point – aside from the embarrassment that Jones’ constant “fine-drawing” behaviour causes – the organisation might just decide that winning at all costs is too costly to sustain!

      • green rider // April 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm //

        You stated “scouting staff plus the trips that Jones has made with all of his staff for various reasons.”
        Curious what trips you are referring to.

  5. Southwest cowboy // April 29, 2017 at 11:31 am //

    Because of Jones’ shenanigans ‘Rider Pride’ is at an all time low. If you want to ‘break’ a story try checking the decline in sales at ‘The Rider Store’

    • You and your scientific surveys, Cowboy. Quit whining.

    • The four negative ninnies on this forum will not be missed in the stands at Mosaic. How’s that for a “breaking” story?

      • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 4:17 pm //

        I plan on making a trip the the new mosaic this year so you won’t fully get rid of me.

        • Puck Hog // April 29, 2017 at 8:55 pm //

          Are you saying your a negative Ninny? Anyway, be sure to wear your new Rider jersey when you go to Mosaic. I’m looking forward to seeing the stadium, too.

          • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 10:40 am //

            sure puck hog if you want to call me a negative ninny you are free to call me that if it makes you feel better.

          • Puck Hog // April 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm //

            Mr. incognito, I didn’t call you a negative Ninny. You called yourself that. This time I will agree with you.

  6. Ron Bates // April 29, 2017 at 11:54 am //

    Truthism’s when winning is everything and step one Jones is a hands on coach with years in the CFL unlike the Dawkins case in Montreal and his uncoordinated staff too big, too little from Dawkins and the positive as he demonstrated that tough driving football could win”opening drive in Calgary game one” lost to a soft D! ??? Jones did wheel deal based on my way our way but not your way approach to veterans and the loss of excellent Canadians. So more fines, still uncertainty with the West holding camps in the West! A dry gulch up ahead? Well pahdner!!!

  7. If you lose your corporate integrity, whats left ?

  8. Scottsask // April 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm //

    Well he certainly does keep the league and this site interested in one team and one team only, your welcome CFL. Oh wait there was that story about the Ti Cats tackling donuts. Snicker

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm //

      Not all publicity is good publicity Scottsask.
      One day people will look back at the Jones tenure in Sask as a bizarre unfortunate moment in CFL history. The same way people view the Glibermans or Feteriks or Murray Pezim, the 13th man penalty or The Las Vegas anthem singer.

      • Puck Hog // April 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm //

        Slow down Stamper,I can’t keep track of your abilities. So far I read that you are a sportswriter, city planner in Calgary, sport psychologist, scout, head coach, Roughriders historian, and now a soothsayer! You’ve been well-reared

  9. Yeah, that’s what we need – Rider fans only writing in. Let’s have a site just for us so we can pat ourselves on the back all day – BOOORRIINNGGG. Hey what about those 4 Grey Cups since 1910? Let’s hang those banners up & another 15 participation awards for the ones that got away. That will give us something to talk about other than “Wait till next year”.

  10. Scottsask // April 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm //

    That is exactly my point. There are 8 other teams in this league and nobody outside of Saskatchewan gives a damn, other than 1 fan in Calgary, Winnipeg and Hamilton. I thought Edmonton had a fan base, but it’s nothing but crickets. The fact is when 90% of the stories on this site are about the Riders, what do you expect? Lazy reporting if you ask me, there could be many stories from coast to Montreal but no other fan base cares. Once again, your welcome CFL and 3downnation! Goooooo Green!!

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 4:33 pm //

      Go to Riderville if you don’t like the opposition. Maybe fans of other teams grow weary of the lack of dialog that occurs here due to the whining and claims of conspiracy by Rider fans.

    • GoCats! // May 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm //

      Odd … by my count, I can find forty eight non-Rider articles versus twelve Rider articles.

      Maybe there’s some sort of filter or lack on interest in the other articles?

  11. Scottsask // April 29, 2017 at 3:28 pm //

    Further proof: 95 comment on the last story by Jones. 14 comment about Wally finally getting caught, and most of them from Horsieland. These are just facts though, what the hell do I know. Once again…… you’re welcome CFL and 3downnation, somebody had to keep the league relevant. I don’t even care if it’s a negative story, because most of them are, but at least we pay attention!

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 5:09 pm //

      MAN! The analytics you but into things Scottsask. You are hellbent on proving the riders are hated. Wow. You need to find some love and peace in your life. You are an angry jaded person

  12. Riders13 // April 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm //

    Agreed! 3D needs to focus on other teams (ie mini camp stories), the upcoming draft and the crickets coming out of the league re a new commissioner, etc. These Rider stories are getting very old and boring!!
    Couple of points though. The Riders are not rolling in cash and when the financial results from the 2016 season are released, the proverbial shit should hit the fan. I’m expecting another big loss similiar to 2015. As a season ticket holder and shareholder, I’m not happy about the frittering away of cash on fines, etc and I’m especially unhappy about the tarnishing of the Rider brand that’s taken a beating for the last few years. In business there are laws and ethics that should be followed and a sports teams are no different. It’s entirely possible to be extremely successful without bending or breaking the rules or trampling of ethics. Shows an extreme lack of character and leadership in my mind.

    • Patience // April 29, 2017 at 4:41 pm //

      Agreed. You can’t keep excusing the fines by saying that the Riders have lots of money. With the hits to Rider Pride and the brand, you also get reduced merchandise sales. All this bad publicity will show in sales. Jones better learn to follow rules and put a competitive team on the field or it could be a brutal year for the franchise.

    • Dan Bombers // April 29, 2017 at 6:03 pm //

      I feel a lot of these stories are written for people to come here and tee off but your right riders 13 I could use a few more stories about the Bombers camp

  13. Scottsask // April 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm //

    Preach on brothers and sisters!

  14. mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 4:42 pm //

    I think the rider team is on the verge of financial disaster between the large staff,fines,compensation to past employees and the 30+ years of stadium debt.
    Riders are a microcosm of Alberta and lately Sask. We spend like crazy and irresponsibly during good times but never give a thought to the consequences of this when bad times arrive

    • JJ Barnagle // April 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm //

      Lol. Another over the top comment

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm //

      More to this point. If sales of merchandise continue to slide and if attendance slides once the novelty of the new stadium wears off there are going to be huge insolvent debts and that will lead to…well …..it could be bad…and best not to mention…….

      Life will go on in the CFL and there is no joy in having a dispersal draft but once this is over I guess the last order of business is to give Ottawa the option of reclaiming the Roughrider name. This time to be known as the Ottawa Roughriders instead of the previous Ottawa Rough Riders.

    • Puck Hog // April 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm //

      Haha, I will now add to your glorious titles “financial advisor and critic”,

    • Ladd Law // April 29, 2017 at 9:23 pm //

      I think you’re on glue. You OBVIOUSLY don’t know anything about the Riders internal situations and only throw you droppings on the floor to be sheit disturber. Nothing more. But you’re real good at it. That’s not much, but it something.

      • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 10:44 am //

        As I say all the time. ITS MY OPINION!! Thats the point of this site.

        • Ladd Law // April 30, 2017 at 2:01 pm //

          When opinions are based on thin air and not facts or logic, it’s just ostentatious garbage. Check the meaning of that word and you’ll actually understand what your opinions are all about. Waste of space and air. Like it’s my opinion the Stumps will stumble and fall this year. BLM gets cranked, busted and there is no backup plan. Makes as much sense as you do.

  15. Pantsonfire // April 29, 2017 at 5:40 pm //

    Rider fans are easy. You hardly have to throw a line in the water to get a bite. So many sacred cows so little time for all of them.

    • Ladd Law // April 30, 2017 at 2:02 pm //

      Rider fans have been getting it from loser fans for 4 decades. When the hate ends, so does the defensive posture.

  16. Wonderful Jones must see himself as above the rules. Sadly I think we can expect more fines and more of the same nonsense.

  17. The bigger problem is getting players to come here, even with a new stadium. Last year we had a lot of big signings but they’re all gone except Gainey. Some were league all-stars. This year we landed 2 big names – Dennis & Carter. Both come with asterisks. Dennis, as suggested by CFL insider Dave Naylor, would probably be in Toronto had the coach situation been cleared up at the time. Carter was free since before the season ended & garnered so much interest on both sides of the border that he signed here for 1/2 his 2015 salary. And then you can include Young who’s been out of football for 6 years. Laing, a guy we could really use at DT, just signed with the Argos. It’s not a selling point when you have a guy who signs you up & then gets rid of you when things aren’t going his way. Not that I’m a Nichols fan but we had no shot at him considering his history with Jones & we all know how Durant was run out of town. If there’s another bad season this year good luck attracting anyone. Players talk.

    • Patience // April 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm //

      Valid points. Lemon and Chambers have been very vocal about being glad to get out of here. I can’t blame Durant for being upset about his treatment here. I am sure that Cappicotti, Kendial Lawrence, and Curtis Steele, to name a few more have nothing good to say about their time here. I don’t believe that Knox will return if he gets cut in the NFL. All indicative of deep problems.

    • Such venom, feel free to cheer for any of the other teams. Bandwagoners

  18. Scottsask // April 29, 2017 at 6:54 pm //

    Only time will tell, goooooo Riders!!

  19. Bob Knows // April 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm //

    OK, lets be honest. Jones is just ripping his time in the CFL to build a resume to get a job in the NFL… He will do what ever is necessary to get there… too bad gangrene will have to suffer..

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 10:52 am //

      ABSOLUTELY Bob Knows
      That’s why Jones is trying to make a splash with a big Name QB ; whether it was Young or Manziel. He doesn’t care what harm he causes this team or league as long as we can grab headlines and give the illusion this team is headed in the right direction.
      Look at his career so far. This man doesn’t understand loyalty in the least!
      I say he’s looking for a big NCAA opportunity.

  20. Well Puck Hog, Patience & I aren’t alone. Vanstone has come out against the Riders, Reynolds has laid down the law & Lawless has basically said Jones makes any more mistakes & he’s as good as gone. Your boy has to win now & no more disgracing the Rider brand. Bye, bye Chris. So long. It’s been nice knowing you. It’s only a matter of time. Catch the circus before it leaves town. Keep defending him – he’s a dead man walking.

  21. I agree !!!!!

  22. Patience // April 30, 2017 at 1:43 am //

    Craig Reynelds has admitted that major damage has been done to the Rider brand. Do you not realize how important that is? That affects merchandise sales, which were already down over two million dollars as of March 31, 2016, mere months after Jones arrived and cut fan favorites. In effect, destroying jersey sales shortly before Christmas. How many people didn’t buy anything because after more than twenty players were cut, no one was sure who else was next and whose name and number was safe? Who knows how much merchandise sales were down last year? A lot of time and effort were put into building that brand and a lot will be needed to rebuild it. Any one now stuck with a Lemon or Cappicotti jersey won t be so eager to replace it with a Carter jersey. With Jones behaviour, the Rider Pride logo is turning into Rider Shame.

  23. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 11:03 am //

    I know many rider fans hate me but the truth is they all deserve better as does the city/province. They need to cut ties with Jones now and start fresh.
    The powers that be need to take the rest of this year to carefully consider their next hire and get someone less flashly who will truly establish this team the in ways the likes of Wally Buono, Hugh Campbell and John Huffnagel have. That would be great for the entire league.

  24. I would like to nothing better than to see Jones kicked to the curb. However, that creates its own problems. GM is no problem. Jeremy O’Day can be named interim GM. But a coaching staff at this point would be a problem. Most teams have an assistant coach who has been here for several years and sometimes under a few different head coaches and so they know the team and it’s strengths and weaknesses. As an example from the past, I would cite Richy Hall and Bobby Dice. These guys , however, usually end up being thrown to the wolves. In the present case of the Riders, however, we have no assistant coach like that because Jones brought with him his own merry band of thieves, all apparently loyal to him and none of which strike me as a candidate for interim head coach. Not to mention the enormous amount of money owed to Jones if you cut him now. On the other hand, how many more fines is he going to rack up in the next several months and how much more is he going to cost the Riders in lost revenue? What is the cost of lost respectability? How do you put a dollar figure on becoming the laughing stock of the league? Is there any way to fire him for cause in which the Riders do not have to pay his salary for two more years? Could he at least be stripped of the GM title so that he did not have such complete control? If not, then these guaranteed contracts are ridiculous. Either way, stay or go, Jones could drag this franchise into the dirt financially.

  25. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm //

    Well folks the truth is he will be going exactly nowhere til at least 2019 so get over it. End of story.

  26. Patience // April 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm //

    Unless Jones changes his ways; both his cheating ways and his losing ways; I can’t see that happening. And I don’t think he will change either one. If he continues as is, there will not be a Sask Rider team by 2019.

  27. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 2:14 pm //

    It will take a million to buy Jones out. Well worth it. It’s true maybe they could hire a slick lawyer who could find loop holes to make contract invalid or agree to a much less severance package. If Riders wait it out this year maybe Jones will get a job offer down south and quit.
    O’day MIGHT be a good choice but better than that make an offer to Rick Campbell after the season.

  28. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 2:31 pm //

    The other hire Riders could consider is Cody Huffnagel (although the Riders have taken enough from Stamps over the years). Buzz is just beginning about him. Think of his pedigree!
    Think of the fun Rider and Stamps fans could have together if Jones was in the NCAA…how long before he’d be fined for recruitment violations!!

  29. I think they have to keep Jones for this season & he’ll smarten up now that Reynolds has stepped in. Lawless has said as well, one more time caught n the act, like for example video evidence appearing of Jones having worked Manziel out, should be grounds for dismissal. But I would be really surprised if the Riders make the playoffs &, if they don’t, that will be the end of Jones’ Reign of Error. Changing the coaches now would be difficult – if it happens they may have to promote 1 of the assistants & let only Jones go. Patience is right – O’Day could easily assume the interim GM position in that situation. We’ll see what happens – this is far from over.

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm //

      If you need a good temporary veteran coach for this season I have 2 words for you…. JIM BARKER

  30. Patience // April 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm //

    It wouldn’t take long and the fines would be bigger. Everyone claims the CFL should have bigger fines and take away draft picks. What would make me chuckle would be if the CFL could suspend Jones for several games due to repeated offences. Now that might be the only thing that would make him sit up and take notice. Making 750 thousand, it is pretty easy to shrug off a $50,000 fine. Of course, a suspension without pay would be a hoot. I bet that would take a layer of arrogance off him.

  31. Well, they could start by getting rid of some of his assistants. Two Quality Control coaches – that’s kinda funny in Jones’ case. If you can’t be the best team in the league you can at least have the most coaches, I guess. How many coaches do the New England Patriots have – 16. Same as the Riders. What’s wrong with that picture?

    • Patience // April 30, 2017 at 3:06 pm //

      Yes. It is funny as there is no quality and certainly no control. Just what do those two do?

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 3:49 pm //

      I don’t think Jones realizes something very fundamentally different between the CFL vs NFL.
      If you play in NFL it is literally a job during the season. You show up at 8am and are there until 5 (even longer sometimes) 6 days a week. Your day consists of workout,practice and many meetings.
      By law CFL players can only be committed to a few hours of team time per day. This means there is far less time for extra meetings.
      By Jones having all these coaches its seems players time with each one will be spread pretty thin and consequently adversely affecting the quality of game prep.
      Bigger is not better in the CFL

    • I get the feeling that Patience, EW and horsie are all the same person.

  32. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 5:44 pm //

    This clown has gone beyond highshool girls obsession. He has now devolved into Glenn Close cooking a bunny in a pot mania. I hope he seeks help soon or he won’t make the season.

  33. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm //

    He’s still proving my point. Stampland proudly owned and operated by Rider Nation, and I do mean owned.

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm //

      Stop commenting then. What bothers you is you know I’m right and you so so so wish your beloved green could have half the success the stamps do.

  34. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm //

    There he goes again, will someone from cowtown please tell your friend to stop hitting on me. It’s not that I’m not flattered because I am. I’m just happily married.

    • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm //

      This ridiculous string of back and forth comments ends here. Bah bye Scottsask

  35. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 8:43 pm //

    Agreed, Stampland is ridiculous.

  36. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 8:53 pm //

    One thing I think we can all agree on in this post.
    Giving Jones the keys to the organization is like giving a chimp a machine gun

    • I loved look on Mitchell’s face in the Grey Cup. Looked like Burris in the 2013 final. Trying to blame everyone else. Coach Dickie had no answer and screwed up when it mattered. More to come this year now that the rest of the teams have seen it. Mitchell was the only healthy QB last year we’ll see just how poor the Stumps are without him if he gets hurt.

      As far as you horse boy. Please just disappear from this site. No one cares what you have to say.

      • mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 9:59 pm //

        You say you don’t care what I have say yet you wrote the above post to provoke a response from me!
        Grey Cup loss last year like spinach for Popeye!
        Bo will be better than ever! and he’ll still have time to keep an eye on your cheating ways!

  37. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:10 pm //

    He just can’t help himself, he said goodbye and here he is again.

  38. No, no one cares about your opinion is different than having to sort though your drivel. Please just get lost so we can all read comments from true CFL fans…run along now.

  39. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:24 pm //

    He’s not getting the last word tonight, for we are legion.

  40. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:25 pm //

    Mark my words, response coming in 3,2,1…..

  41. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 10:27 pm //

    Have the last word if you want. I’ll have the last laugh

  42. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:41 pm //

    There it is

  43. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm //

    So now he’s a liar too

  44. Scottsask // April 30, 2017 at 10:56 pm //

    And yet the fool keeps responding. Well folks pulling the strings and making the monkey dance had left me weary. Good night football fans. Hopefully tomorrow will be more intelligent.

    • Why is his responses to you more foolish than yours to him?I would rather read his responses than yours, odd insight but at least he has insight. You whine and moan and play the woe is me card waaaaaay too much.

  45. mrnehnehincognito // April 30, 2017 at 10:59 pm //

    night Scottsask

  46. Marc Lebut // May 2, 2017 at 9:54 am //

    I agree with Joel that it’s now or never for Jones in Regina. At least, very close to it. Let’s put it this way. If the Alouettes are better than last season and better than the Roughriders with Durant as QB and Vince Young doesn’t deliver and the Roughriders don’t improve, Jones is done.

    You choose to replace a 34 y.o. proven vet QB by a 33 y.o. unproven QB out of football since 6 years, backed up by a washed up 37 y.o. unproven vet QB, it’s do or die.

    Honestly, anyone think Kevin Glenn will be successful in McAdoo’s O? He needs a mobile QB, which Glenn isn’t. Brandon Bridge is not accurate and won’t be. As for the other QBs, they’re too raw to make this team a winning team this season. So it’s all on Vince Young’s bid.

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