Edmonton Elks general manager and head coach Chris Jones really has been pushing the narrative that he’s ready to stay a while in the Alberta capital.
Ever since being officially hired by the green and gold, Jones’ transient nature has been questioned by media and fans alike even though he signed a four-year contract.
“I’ve done all the moving around stuff. The only thing I’ve not done is establish a winning team, a championship team and then do it year in and year out, that’s what we’re looking to do,” Jones said on The Rod Pedersen Show.
The 54-year-old served as head coach and defensive coordinator in Edmonton for two previous seasons during which he was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year (2014) and won a Grey Cup (2015). The EE Football Team went 26-10 in the regular season and 3-1 in the post-season under Jones, hosting a playoff game both years.
“Edmonton’s where Paul Jones brought me into the league with Don Matthews. That was the first place that I went up and did what they call guest coaching, interning essentially, during camp. That was the first opportunity I had to go up and try to get involved in pro football,” Jones said.
Despite his affinity for the city, Jones departed Edmonton just one week after capturing the CFL championship in 2015. However, he has previously had long stints with the same organization, working under Matthews with the Montreal Alouettes for six seasons (2002-2007) and a four-year span with John Hufnagel and the Calgary Stampeders (2008-2011). If he matches the length of either of those stops in Edmonton, he will have fulfilled the length of his contract with the Elks.
“I’ve done all the other. I’ve been an assistant coach and a coordinator in Montreal and then got an opportunity to move on and work with Huf over in Calgary. I was able to do some things there and get started in personnel. From there I got to go on with Barks and those guys,” Jones said of his two years in Toronto alongside Jim Barker.
Jones has his work cut out for him as the Elks are coming off a league-worst 3-11 season during which crowd sizes dwindled, especially late in the year. The board cleaned house three days after Edmonton’s final game of the 2021 schedule — a 43-10 loss to the B.C. Lions — firing president Chris Presson, general manager Brock Sunderland, and head coach Jaime Elizondo.