The man in black is back in green and white.
Head coach and football operations boss Chris Jones has inked a deal that will keep him with the Roughriders through the 2020 season.
The announcement comes days after rumours swirled around Jones’ NFL opportunities.
On the Green Zone Thursday, Jones said he had heard from colleagues that people were asking about him.
“It’s kind of something I knew was going on. I have not personally talked to anybody from the NFL (but) I do know that some people have (talked to the NFL) about me,” Jones said.
“It’s just one of those deals that we have a good football team and we’ve had the good fortune of winning some games and the NFL is taking some notice.”
Jones joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders late in 2015 as the vice-president of football operations, general manager and head coach and steadily improved the team year after year. After a 5-13 rebuilding season in 2016, he doubled the club’s wins the next year and lead the team to its first playoff appearance since 2013.
In 2018, Jones added two more wins to the record and the Roughriders finished the season at 12-6, with a home playoff game.
“We are pleased that we have reached an extension with Chris,” said Roughriders president and CEO Craig Reynolds in an emailed statement. “Under Chris’s guidance, the team has improved year over year and developed into one of the league’s top rosters. We are excited for what’s ahead for our football team.”
“Craig and I work real well together,” Jones said. “We’ve been working on this since even at the end of the year. We’ve got our staff back with the exception of (John) Murphy and we’ve added Paul Jones to that group. I feel real strongly moving forward we got a good football team.”
As Jones referenced, the Roughriders announced that Jeremy O’Day will remain with the team through 2020. O’Day is currently the club’s assistant vice-president of football operations and administration after joining the club’s front office in 2011. O’Day has been with the Roughriders for 21 years – including 12 seasons as a player on the offensive line.
The club also confirmed that Paul Jones will join the front office as assistant general manager after 12 seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. Paul Jones signed a two-year contract.
The Roughriders will keep director of football administration Mike Davis and football operations coordinator Jordan Greenly on staff as well.
Jones said all the men have already been working really hard to find new talent with the likes of Sam Eguavoen and Jordan Williams-Lambert taking NFL opportunities.
“We worked the whole month of December. It was the first time we put that much that much time in and did workouts and things of that nature prior to the first of the year but we’ve already found four or five guys that we feel like can come in and compete,” he added.
As for the number one question in Riderville – who the quarterback will be – Jones didn’t give any clues, but said the team hasn’t ruled anyone out including the club’s 2018 quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge.
“We feel like with all the quarterbacks that are out there we’ve got to take a good, hard look at everybody’s who’s available and see what’s going to best for our organization going forward.”
Training camp is set to start on May 19, with free agency opening on Feb. 12.