Where he belongs

Former Bombers QB Khari Jones (left) receives a jersey from Lyle Bauer during Jones' retirement...

Former Bombers QB Khari Jones (left) receives a jersey from Lyle Bauer during Jones' retirement press conference, yesterday. (BRIAN DONOGH/ SUN MEDIA)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

He may have actually finished his pro playing career elsewhere but Khari Jones left his football heart in Winnipeg.

So, the former Most Outstanding Player officially retired as a Blue Bomber yesterday -- at his request.

The Bombers signed the former quarterback to an official CFL contract (for a year and an option) and Jones then filed his retirement papers for the first time.

"I'm just touched by this," an emotional Jones said at the announcement held at The Sun Centre. "I'm very honoured to be retired officially (yesterday) as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber."

Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer presented Jones with the No. 17 jersey that he wore (although it has not been retired) and a Bomber cap.

"Bomber fans continue to talk about Khari in the most glowing terms," Bauer said. "It only seems appropriate he should officially retire from the game as a member of the Blue and Gold."

Yet, the Bombers traded Jones to Calgary in 2004. Jones then signed with Hamilton as a free agent in 2005, but was released there. He then signed with Edmonton in 2006 but was cut in training camp.

But Jones still wanted to retire as a member of a team where he had enjoyed the most success.

"I felt like this was where I belonged, no matter which team I played for," said Jones, 36. "I've always felt like this was home for me ... because of the fans, because of the (Bomber) staff, because of how everyone embraced me and my family. I'm so glad for the opportunity to have played the majority of my career here."

Jones, who works as a broadcaster for CBC CFL telecasts among other jobs, now lives in Calgary with his wife and two daughters. Jones, who may get into coaching, decided he had been away from the game long enough to retire officially.

Bombers GM Brendan Taman, who had acquired Jones from B.C., credited the quarterback with turning the team around after the Bombers gambled on giving him the starting job in 2000.

"When Khari took that team over, we had a lot of success," Taman said. "When Khari was playing for us, we always had a chance to win."

Jones was named CFL MOP in 2001, the year he led the club to its last Grey Cup appearance, losing to Calgary. During his five seasons in Winnipeg, Jones tied or set 18 club records.

Jones and Bomber slotback Milt Stegall, who were named the top quarterback-receiver tandem of all time by the Making the Connection contest, will sign autographs at the Bomber Store today, 5-8 p.m. Jones, however, is unable to stay for tomorrow night's game against Calgary.


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