Why not Khari?

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Looking back at the last two home-town performances by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a blowout loss against B.C. and an equally embarrassing drubbing at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, three words come to mind.

Why not Khari?

I'm talking about Khari Jones, of course, the former Bomber quarterback who's cutting his teeth as a CFL TV analyst these days.

I know, Jones is retired (although it's not official, yet -- he hasn't filed his papers) and his last attempt to crack a CFL roster failed in Edmonton this year.

But with the Bomber offence showing all the polish of an abandoned V-8 these days, and starter Kevin Glenn expected to miss up to three more games with a knee injury, bringing Jones back is not such a crazy idea.

Show me another quarterback out there who's more qualified.

Former Montreal backup Ted White? Give me a break.

Darnell Kennedy, ex-Ottawa and Calgary pivot? Don't think so.

An NFL reject like Ryan Dinwoodie? Puh-lease.

Are either one of those a former most outstanding player? Combined, they've thrown eight career CFL touchdown passes. One year, Jones tossed 46.

The Bombers say White has experience in head coach Doug Berry's Montreal-style offence. Sure he does. Experience throwing interceptions.

Let me remind you Mike Quinn, Brad Banks and Russ Michna have worked in this offence since training camp, and they've looked about as comfortable at the controls as Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah.

Since Glenn got hurt, the Bomber offence has produced all of four points in seven quarters of football.

You don't think Jones would be an improvement over that?

Even after he'd fallen out of favour with the fans here, No. 17 was putting up numbers far superior to those of the current Bomber backups.

In 2004, for instance, Jones completed better than 56% of his passes, throwing 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Sure, his talents declined here at the end, but I'm not suggesting he can or should carry the mail anymore -- just watch over the pile until Glenn is healthy to resume regular deliveries.

Jones, 35, is smart enough to learn a new offence quickly, and good enough to be a decent insurance policy as Glenn's backup the rest of the season.

In talking to Jones from his Calgary home yesterday, I got the impression the idea intrigues him, just a little.

"It's not something I'm thinking about... but, yeah, I saw the last game like everyone else," Jones began, laughing as if he knew exactly where the conversation was going.

So far, the Bombers haven't called him.

And if they did?

"I don't know. I honestly don't," he said. "If it happened, I'd assess it then. It (the door) is not all the way closed, but it's pretty close. It would have to be a very good situation on both sides.

"I definitely feel like I can still play. I was planning on playing this year. But I am enjoying what I'm doing now, and I've been down almost any road you can think of. If I never play a down, I'm fine."

There was a time when rumours of Jones's return would draw mostly negative here.

But when he came to town for TV work a few weeks back, he drew applause from the stands wherever he went.

"I was very touched by it," Jones said. "It's nice that people remember what I've done there."

Wouldn't coming back where he exploded into a star be the perfect way to end his career, too? It's like it's meant to be.

"It's not something I'm expecting," Jones said. "It's not something I'm actively pursuing. It would have to be out there, first. Until that happens, I don't know how I'd feel about it. They have to do what they feel is best."

Right now, I don't see a better alternative.

Could things get any worse?


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