Two's company ...

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

So, what are the odds Jason Maas will be with the Edmonton Eskimos through the end of this season? Will Khari Jones ever don a Green and Gold jersey?

And what of Bart Hendricks, Maas's backup last season who elected to re-sign with the Esks earlier this spring?

There's more questions than answers now that quarterback Ricky Ray will be spending the next four seasons in Edmonton. For now, however, Maas - who just put his name on a four-year contract extension - is still No. 1.

"Jason will take the first snap, there's no question about it," offered head coach Danny Maciocia, who cut short his Florida vacation to be in town for the Ray announcement yesterday.

"We're trying to create as much competition as possible. Ricky is here to compete with the other guys. Then we'll see how it turns out."

Toss sophomore pivot Jason Johnson into the mix and the Esks open training camp May 29 with five quarterbacks. Maas underwent shoulder surgery in December and is awaiting medical clearance to resume throwing on a daily basis.

Despite reports which indicate Maas will be ready when camp opens, Maas could just as easily start the year on the injured list. That would leave Ray as the starter, Jones as his backup and Johnson as the No. 3 man.

In the event Maas is good to go, the Green and Gold could then move Jones. But if there's a plan, nobody is talking about it.

"We'll see what comes, we're very close to camp," offered Esks COO Rick LeLacheur.

"From a coach's perspective, I think they want to have everybody they can in camp.

"As we work our way through the first couple of weeks of camp, we'll see how everybody is and how Jason's arm is and go from there."

Maas was among those Esks players in attendance for yesterday's announcement and sporting a mile-wide grin.

The only thing which delighted Maas more than having his good buddy back in town is the prospect of going head to head with Ray during training camp.

"I've thought of a lot of different things with the possibility of Ricky coming back and not one of them was a negative thought," said Maas, who says he'll be ready for training camp but declined to speculate on his long-term future with the team.

"There's not one bad thing about him coming back. Professionally, I may not be playing this year.

"There's also a possibility I could go in and compete and play well. I know what I can do when I'm healthy and I know what Ricky can do when he's playing."

Coping with a bumper crop of talent at the quarterback position is not novel for the Esks. Damon Allen, Matt Dunigan and Tracy Ham were all under contract to the club in 1987.

"They managed to make it work along the way," Maciocia said.

Still, Ray's arrival is deja vu for Jones. The former Winnipeg starter thought he'd found a home in Calgary last season but was cut loose after Henry Burris signed in Cowtown.

"I can sit here thinking about it and worrying about it, or I can go out and play football and do things I've done throughout my career," said Jones when reached in California.

"Things happen and you just have to roll with them. Who knows what's going to happen.

"(Ray) has been there already and helped them to win a championship. I can understand it from that point."


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