Former Riders coach Chris Jones was trying to land NCAA jobs, Schooners gig

Former Saskatchewan Roughriders uber boss Chris Jones had been politicking for other jobs prior to the joining the Cleveland Browns, per sources.

Jones inquired about the head coach position at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but the Mocs hired Rusty Wright among other possible NCAA opportunities.

However, the CFL job that piqued Jones’ interest the most was the Atlantic Schooners top football role. Jones, like other football men around the CFL, was working behind the scenes to land the Schooners vice president of football operations gig. That role is expected to be filled by longtime CFL personnel man Eric Tillman.

Jones won a Grey Cup with the Edmonton Eskimos as a head coach and improved the Riders win total each season while holding all of the important titles in Saskatchewan. The 51-year-old has a 53-37 win-loss record as a CFL head coach and was named the CFL’s coach of the year for his efforts in 2018.

Ultimately, Jones coveted an NFL job and kept in contact with the people he was connected with down south. He had been in contact with Bruce Arians who was named the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January and ultimately landed an NFL opportunity after former colleague Freddie Kitchens became the head coach in Cleveland. The Browns sought Jones out: general manager John Dorsey gained permission for Cleveland to interview Jones and created the role of “senior defensive assistant” specifically for him.

While Jones may have ended up in Cleveland, it’s clear that he was looking for other opportunities that would have taken him out of Saskatchewan.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.