Farewell, Khari

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

If Khari Jones's quarterback skills matched his personality, he would still be an all-star in the CFL.

But unfortunately for the personable and classy 35-year-old import, he has lost his touch on the ball and has been cut by the Edmonton Eskimos at the end of training camp for the second consecutive year.

"I was definitely looking forward to this season and I thought things would work out and that's not the way it happened. So, what can you do?" said Jones, who took the time to talk to the media yesterday as he drove home to Calgary not long after receiving the bad news.

It was kind of fitting that he was driving south because that's the same direction his stock went after starting the first pre-season game in Regina last weekend.

He had a chance to take a stranglehold on the No. 2 pivot job, but constantly missed receivers and then had to watch Jason Johnson grab the backup job to Ricky Ray, while rookie Steven Jyles assumed the No. 3 role.

JOHNSON DID A 'PRETTY GOOD JOB'

"(Johnson) played a quarter and half in Saskatchewan - and for a whole quarter he moved the ball into the wind," said head coach Danny Maciocia. "And I thought he did a pretty good job (Friday); he accumulated 100 yards in passing and I can honestly say it wasn't done with our first (string offensive line)."

Defensive end Anthony Collier was the other CFL veteran among the nine cuts made by the Esks before yesterday's 10 p.m. cutdown deadline.

But Collier is bound to find another team.

Jones - on the other hand - could be finished. His career could definitely be over.

After being a huge star in Winnipeg for almost five years, he has now been released four times in less than 16 months.

"I think it's pretty close to being the end right now," said Jones, who could now become a full-time actor after being in two TV movies this off-season.

"I won't say 100% (it's over) until I get home and I talk to my wife. As of now, I feel like I have done what I need to do on the football field. I've played 11 years and I had five years that would rival anybody's best five years. I have no regrets."

In those five years in Winnipeg - 2000-04 - he passed for a combined 20,000 yards, set 18 Bomber records and was the 2001 CFL Most Outstanding Player. But then a mysterious shoulder injury occurred and he was dealt to Calgary, which started the downward spiral.

"It felt like home (in Winnipeg) and I was always looking for that feeling again," said Jones. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find it."

SECOND IN SACKS

Collier is looking for a new home after coming to Edmonton as a first-round pick in the Ottawa dispersal draft.

Although he was second in the league in sacks last year, he rarely stood out in camp.

"We let him go based on the play of (Andre) Sommersell, Charles Alston, (Sherrod) Coates and (Tim) Fleiszer," said Maciocia.

In total, Edmonton cut nine players, moved five to the practice roster and 10 to the injured list to get to the 46-man roster limit yesterday.

Only 42 can dress for Saturday's regular-season opener, but Maciocia doesn't have to make that call until one hour prior to kickoff.


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