24 hours after leaving the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for a defensive coaching position, Chris Jones spoke with Darren Dupont about how the opportunity came about, and what he’ll remember from Saskatchewan and the CFL:
HOW’S IT FEEL?
CJ: It’s a good opportunity. A friend of mine (Freddie Kitchens) is now a head coach in the NFL so it kinda allowed me to have my opportunity so I took a run at it.
HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?
CJ: The GM (John Dorsey) had been asking a lot of questions about me and some of the things we’d done defensively over the course of the last few years. He was checking statistics and stuff and then he reached out to Marc Trestman and Marc recommended me and said we’d done some good things. Then it became apparent that when Freddie got hired, Coach (Bill) Parcells called on my behalf. So then it became evident that maybe it was pointing in that direction, and this is something I should do.
THIS STARTED BEFORE KITCHENS WAS HIRED?
CJ: Ya because they’d been reaching out. I didn’t find out till recently they’d done some investigative work to see what we’d done, comparing statistics and things of that nature. When Freddie got hired, Coach Parcells called and said he’d put in a word and said he thought I had a real good shot. When I interviewed yesterday, it was a real good fit.
DID YOU THINK THIS WOULD HAPPEN AFTER SIGNING YOUR EXTENSION HERE?
CJ: You just never know. It’s one of those deals where in the NFL you only get opportunities every now and then. It’s not like those come around every day. That being said, when they said they wanted to interview, I didn’t think it was to just come hang out and exchange general niceties. I felt at that point that I had a chance to get hired.
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER ABOUT SASKATCHEWAN?
CJ: Oh man I love it. First of all I love the players, the coaches, I love the staff. It’s not like co-workers, it’s more like family. It’s a bunch of brothers out there trying to get a job done. Certainly we’ve got some unfinished business there and we didn’t reach our goal. We’ve got the arrow pointed in the right direction, but we didn’t quite reach everything that we wanted to reach. They’ve got some unfinished business but they’ve got some really good people to get it done.
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER OF THE CFL?
CJ: Ya, I’ll tell you what man. I’ll always remember it with very fond memories. From ’02 until now, there’s been so many good points about the entire country and the organizations I’ve been with. It’s been a real ride, and I’ll remember it forever.
HOW DOES YOU ROLE IN COACHING CHANGE NOW?
CJ: I was talking to some of my friends last night and actually I was talking to the GM this morning. It’s a different dynamic now in that you mention some thoughts and ideas and they have the choice whether to listen to them or not. For the last five years it was a case of if I came up with it, we did it. It is a little bit different dynamic but it’s not something I hadn’t done before. Trust me, I worked for Don Mathews for six years. There were a few ideas that were ignored! It’s part of it and it gives me a chance to coach at the highest level, against NFL coaches, and see where you stack up.
WHO DID YOU CALL FIRST?
CJ: I let my family know. I called all my folks down home because they were nervous for me. I told them that when they called for the interview, I had a pretty good chance. Once I got it, I called and let everybody down home know