Chris Jones leaves Saskatchewan Roughriders for NFL opportunity

The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones is leaving the CFL team and heading to the NFL. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

Chris Jones is leaving the Saskatchewan Roughriders to pursue an NFL coaching opportunity.

The CFL team’s head coach and general manager resigned on Tuesday.

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“We are proud of what Chris came in and accomplished through his three seasons as general manager and head coach,” Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds said in a press release.

“His work obviously didn’t go unnoticed and we congratulate him on his opportunity in the National Football League and thank him for his contribution to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”

Reynolds added they will look to fill the vacancy quickly.

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Chris Jones was hired by the Roughriders on Dec. 7, 2015, after helping win the 103rd Grey Cup as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.

After going 5-13 in the 2016 season, Saskatchewan improved to 10-8 under Jones’ guidance in 2017 and appeared in a division final for the first time since 2013.

During the 2018 season, the Riders finished with the league’s second-best record at 12-6 and were eliminated in the West semifinal. Jones was named the CFL’s coach of the year for his efforts.

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Earlier this month, Jones signed a contract extension with the Riders, but there was an out clause if an NFL job became available to him.

There are rumblings on social media that Jones’ new job will be on the defensive side of the ball with the Cleveland Browns, who just hired Freddy Kitchens as their new head coach. Kitchens was the quarterback for Alabama in 1997 where Jones was a graduate assistant with the team.

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