Simon says he's a Khari fan

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Geroy Simon calls Khari Jones one of the three best quarterbacks in the CFL.

The B.C. Lions receiver -- first among the loop's pass catchers this season with 92 grabs for 1,628 yards and a dozen TDs -- was an eager target for Jones during their one season together in Winnipeg.

"He's definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the league," says Simon, who wore Blue and Gold along with the new Stampeders pivot during 2000 and now enjoys catching passes from Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers.

"I would say he's in the top three. We have two of the best right here in B.C. He's a guy who's won the MVP in this league and he's a great quarterback.

"It was a pretty good (rapport). It got to the point where he trusted me with some big throws in situations where we needed a first down or we needed a big play.

"All the other quarterbacks were relying on Milt Stegall and Robert Gordon but Khari was a quarterback who gave me an opportunity to make some plays for him."

Simon hauled in 51 passes for 725 yards with Winnipeg in 2000 before signing with the Lions as a free agent after the following season.

He points out Jones, who gets his second start as a Stampeder tonight (8 p.m., TSN), isn't the best athlete among CFL pivots but is smart and tenacious.

Simon believes Jones is destined to succeed in Calgary.

"He took a lot of flak in Winnipeg and I don't think he deserved it," says Simon, 29.

"He didn't have a lot of help. I think he's a great quarterback and he has some weapons now in Calgary and he'll be successful again.

"If you make mistakes, he'll take advantage and it'll be a big day for No. 17 (tonight).

"Our DBs need to stay on their guys and don't give him opportunities because he'll take advantage of them.

"He's a tough guy, a guy who perseveres.

"He was the backup here (in B.C.) for a couple of years ... He goes to Winnipeg and takes the job from Kerwin Bell and becomes the MVP in this league.

"It's almost the same situation as Casey here. He's come in and got an opportunity to play and he's played well.

"It's the same kind of thing."

Simon enters tonight's game just 104 yards from establishing a Lions single season receiving record -- eclipsing Darren Flutie's mark from 1994.

"I don't really think about it until (the media) asks about it," says Simon, who also had a four-TD effort earlier this season in Hamilton.

"It's something I'd like to have but I don't worry about it. If you go out and execute our offence, it'll happen."


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