Keeping up with Jones

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

On the face of a business card, it appears Paul Jones has been demoted after an ugly season for the Edmonton Eskimos.

Formerly the general manager of the flagship franchise in the CFL, the Louisiana-based talent scout now carries the new title of director of player personnel.

But the club's brass adamantly denies there has been a demotion or a change in Jones's power within the organization.

"It's more for clarity," said team president Rick LeLacheur on the title change that was announced at yesterday's media conference at Commonwealth Stadium.

"As I told him, it is more for his sake because he was getting branded for something that wasn't in his control.

"I didn't think it was fair."

Specifically, LeLacheur is referring to the branding that came with this popular question: How can a CFL team have a general manager in Louisiana?

The Eskimos' internal structure has been criticized and questioned for months - and Jones's old title was part of the public debate.

"He is (still) doing the same job," added LeLacheur. "It was the wrong title (before).

"Paul has done a great job with the Eskimos over the last eight years.

"There is no one that works as hard as Paul does."

And that was clearly evident late yesterday afternoon, as Jones was travelling down the road in Mississippi with the intent of watching a Division II college game last night.

But as his automobile's 2006 odometer was inching closer to 70,000 miles on the rural highway, Jones denied his ego is now bruised because he has lost his general manager title.

"I have no ego," quipped the eight-year member of the Green and Gold organization.

"Titles are just words to me. My job is just to try and find the best players I can find."

While Jones's resume shows star recruits like Jason Tucker and promising youngsters like Steven Jyles and Brandon Guillory, critics have suggested his overall body of work this year on delivering import talent was not very strong.

Of the 17 new imports brought to the 2006 training camp in May, only four - Jonte Buhl, Jyles, Raleigh Roundtree and Roosevelt Williams - are being tabbed to have a role in 2007.

But Jones isn't getting involved in grading whether he had a good, decent or bad recruiting year.

"It is not an I, it is a WE," he said, when put on the spot yesterday to judge the year he had.

"You don't spell TEAM with an I.

"Each year, we go out and try to do the best job we possibly can."

And going forward into 2007, the Eskimos believe only two things have really changed: a) Jones will directly report to Maciocia as opposed to reporting elsewhere in administration and b) his phone bill will rise.

"Paul and I will probably be talking personnel every single day from here on in - and even throughout the course of the season," said Maciocia.

"Before you were too busy trying to get ready to compete offensively and you said: 'I will call you later on.'

"And that later on turned out to be the next day."


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