Veteran NFL offensive lineman Brett Jones open to CFL return, Riders ‘very interested’

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/David Berding

Long-time NFL offensive lineman Brett Jones is weighing the merits of a potential return to the CFL.

The native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan last suited up in training camp with the Denver Broncos in 2021, suffering a torn bicep which ended his season. He did not play in 2022, instead returning to his home province where he kept in shape by volunteering with his alma mater, the University of Regina Rams.

Joining 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage, the 31-year-old expressed a desire to continue his playing career if the right circumstances arose.

“I don’t want to go out not on my own terms. If there’s a way for me to play in the CFL, it’s something that definitely I’ve been researching and thinking about,” Jones said.

“It’s a bigger decision than just me now. I have my wife and she’s happy where she is and so I just have to make the right decision for what’s good for our family going forward. But the CFL is something I’ve definitely thought about and something I’ll keep thinking about in the days and months ahead.”

Originally selected in the second round of the 2013 CFL Draft after a stellar collegiate career with the Rams, Jones played two seasons at centre for the Calgary Stampeders. He was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in his first season and the league’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in his second, translating that success into a contract with the New York Giants.

The six-foot-two, 315-pound blocker spent three seasons in the Big Apple, earning starts at both centre and guard. He was traded to the Minnesota Vikings prior to the opening of the 2018 regular season, spending three more years with that organization before landing in Denver.

Throughout his career, Jones has dressed for 46 NFL games and made 17 starts. Still in his prime, he would be highly coveted throughout the league which gave him his first opportunity.

“I think that there’s been a few teams that have reached out to me,” Jones acknowledged. “I’ve obviously listened to them and heard what they have to say but again, I have some other things I have in my life that are going on that I have a commitment or a desire to do those things too.”

“I just need to take a real deep thought and just sit down and see what I’d like to do. I think that it’s still early in that process. If I do choose to play, I know I’m in really good shape. I know I can get out there and play again.”

The veteran blocker currently has his sights set on medical school with the goal of becoming a family doctor in the rural areas where he grew up and has applied for enrollment at the University of Saskatchewan. Any return to pro football would only take place if he was rejected.

“I think that I’ve had a lot of years to play professionally. I played nine years, seven in the NFL and two in the CFL, but as I’m getting older, my wife and I would like to have a little more direction of what’s gonna go on with our life and not always live year to year, just have a plan going forward,” Jones said.

“If it was that I do happen to get in, it would be great and I’d be able to plan for my future and do those things, but if that’s not the case and if I don’t end up getting in or whatever doesn’t work out then definitely I’d consider playing in the CFL.”

Should that scenario play out, the Saskatchewan Roughriders would be at the front of the line to sign the local product. Jones expressed no definitive preference when it came to which team he might play for but admitted that he would be open to joining the green and white. That sentiment is mutual.

“We’re very interested in Brett and he knows that, so really the ball is in his court,” Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson stated later in the show. “If he wants to play for the Roughriders, he knows he’s gonna have an opportunity. If he doesn’t, that’s his choice, but we’re certainly hoping we get a chance to visit with him.”

Saskatchewan had the worst offensive line in the CFL in 2022, surrendering a record 77 sacks through 18 games. The addition of a player of Jones’ calibre would go a long way toward fixing those issues, but the team will have to wait for acceptance letters to go out before any potential bidding war can begin.