The former CFL MVP never really got a chance to show the Stampeders he could become the leader of their herd. Quarterback Khari Jones played just three games for Calgary after the Stamps acquired him from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a blockbuster deal late last season. He was released when quarterback Henry Burris was signed there yesterday.
"It is a little strange, but it's all right," Jones said from the U.S., where he is visiting friends. "I'm definitely OK with it. The way it (Calgary's public pursuit of Burris) was handled wasn't the best, but I'm all right. And I've never been a free agent before in my whole career."
Jones, 33, was released after he declined to take a pay cut from his $350,000 salary. That allowed Calgary to pay Burris at least that much after Burris spurned Saskatchewan's offer of $300,000-plus.
Jones and his agent, Gil Scott, will now check out his options and he would even consider returning to Winnipeg.
"I would never rule out anything at this point," said Jones. "Who knows what the future will hold? (Bomber GM) Brendan's (Taman) always been good to me, and I don't have any bad feelings towards them about being traded."
Taman, who met with Scott in Toronto earlier this week, did not return messages left yesterday.
Roughriders GM Roy Shivers also admitted during the CFL Congress here this week that he would be interested in Jones if he failed to re-sign Burris.
"I haven't thought about that too much," said Jones, who had heard that speculation. "I'll let my agent talk to people and hopefully get to a team that wants me to be a part of it. He's (Scott) a mover, and he'll talk to people soon, but there's no hurry."
Other destinations could include Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton or even Montreal.
The shoulder problem that had hampered him last season has recovered.
"I threw for the (new Calgary) coaches and everything, and they saw I was fine," Jones said. "And towards the end, they talked about doing something (pay cut) and me staying there."
After selling his Winnipeg home, Jones had bought a house in Calgary.
"As soon as I bought it, I should have known," Jones said with a laugh.
But Jones knew changes could be made after new owners bought the franchise and parted ways with the regime that had brought him there.
"They wanted to bring in their own guys," he said.
"Henry Burris had been there before, and Calgary really wanted him. I don't take it personally."
But he is determined to reward any team that rescues him.
"I've never been handed anything, I've always had to earn it," Jones said. "People have doubted me for whatever reason, and I like to prove them wrong. This is a wacky world of football, and I just want to go where it's the right fit for me."
Calgary is now left with just fullback Randy Bowles and a draft pick from the deal that sent defensive lineman Joe Fleming, safety Wes Lysack and fullback Scott Regimbald to Winnipeg.
NOTE: Bombers have signed former Ottawa Renegades cornerback Mesene Louisdor, a 5-foot-10, 179-pound Michigan product who spent last season on the Miami Dolphins practice roster.