Unconcerned by Sewell comments, Alouettes HC Khari Jones wants players to ‘say what they feel’

Photo courtesy: Dominick Gravel

Most coaches cringe when a player provides an opponent with classic bulletin board material, but Khari Jones takes a different tact.

After defensive tackle Almondo Sewell took a shot across the bow of former teammate and Edmonton Elks quarterback Trevor Harris, the Alouettes head coach was completely unperturbed by the veterans behaviour.

“I don’t know if it surprises me or not. He was asked the question and he answered it how he felt like he could answer. It was honest to him,” Jones told Montreal media after Sewell’s comments caught fire on social media.  “No, it doesn’t concern me in any way and it doesn’t bother me.”

Sewell played nine seasons in Edmonton during which he was named an all-star seven times. He departed for the team in free agency in February 2020 after clearly feeling as though the team didn’t prioritize retaining his services, landing in Montreal.

While he downplayed his return to Edmonton, Sewell spoke less than glowingly about his former quarterback’s resiliency, saying of Harris “you hit him one time, he starts folding.”

Some took issue with the comments, but Jones was quick to point out the hypocrisy in those reactions.

“I don’t think he was being disrespectful in any way to Trevor, but he answered the question truthfully. It’s one of those things. Everybody wants the real answers and then when they get them, it doesn’t sit well with people,” he said. “I want the guys to say what they feel and that’s how he feels.”

Harris felt slightly differently, clapping back on Friday by saying that Sewell was “talking out the side of his neck.” An angry opposing quarterback is less than ideal, but the Alouettes are used to dealing with pre-game verbal sparring.

For years, veteran pass rusher John Bowman was never one to shy away from controversial commentary on opponents. He retired in the offseason, but Sewell has picked up his mantle of vocal and sometimes incendiary leadership along the defensive line.

“There are a whole lot of similarities and there’s a reason why the great ones and guys that are — in my opinion — future Hall of Famers are who they are. It’s because they give everything to it, they’re pretty open and they’re honest and their teammates can trust them to mean what they say and say what they mean,” Jones said, comparing the two.

“Almondo is one of those guys and you see it every day in practice. He is up on them every day and there’s no days off for that guy and he’s a worker. I can always respect that and we love having those guys on your team.”

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.