EDMONTON - He was down as many times as he was up, but Jason Maas wouldn’t change a thing.
Playing nine years with the Edmonton Eskimos makes for a lot of memories, but none is as special as the Cinderella Grey Cup run of 2005.
“I’ve kind of enjoyed my career, the way it’s turned out,” said Maas, who was released Tuesday. “There’s maybe a game here or a game there or a better throw here or a better throw there.
“I don’t really have a ton of regret. I’ve left everything out on the line and gave it every effort that I could give. Sometimes it was good enough, sometimes it wasn’t.”
Then again, the times it wasn’t are what made the good times even better.
“I don’t know that I would change anything because a lot of things I didn’t do so well early in my career — disappointments in the playoffs in 2001, or even in 2004 when I was a starter — they all culminated into something special in 2005,” said Maas, who appeared in relief of Ricky Ray in both the West semifinal and final games to light a fire under the offence and string together consecutive game-winning drives on the way to the club’s latest championship.
“It’s because of those setbacks that I worked extremely hard for if I ever was given another opportunity to be a player in a meaningful game, I wanted to come through in the clutch,” Maas said. “In 2005 that happened a couple times. It was a magical run for the team and I was happy to be a part of it.
“I think every up and down I had, that’s life. Basically has been my life and I’ve enjoyed it completely. I’ve enjoyed the fans, I’ve enjoyed the organization.”
Which made it all the more difficult a decision, Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman said in a press release Tuesday.
“Days like this with special players are always bittersweet.”