No more MAAS: CFL deal is finally official
Eskimos pivot traded to Hamilton, McManus to Edmonton
Font: * * * * Dan Barnes, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2005
EDMONTON -- Jason Maas wore black, but he did not come solely to bury his Eskimo past.
Hamilton's newest starting quarterback was also dressed to thrill.
"This is my most favourite colour in the world. Black fits my personality like nothing else," said Maas, who was traded Friday from Edmonton, where he spent the first six years of a CFL career that is bound to blossom in Steeltown. "As hard as it is to move, that's what I'm looking forward to, the fire I'm going to get putting this colour on."
The Tabbies' colour scheme is predominantly black and orange and the collars in Hamilton are mostly blue. It's a palate that fits the hard-working Maas every bit as well as Green and Gold did since he came to Edmonton in 2000 as a free agent. The 30-year-old from Beaver Dam, Wisc., sees the world as black and white, no grey. Whatever happens to him is either the best or the worst thing in the world and, at this point, stepping out of Ricky Ray's shadow is clearly the best thing for Maas.
"I am ready to move on. I do want to play. I'm excited to be a Ticat now," he said. "The only other team I said I wanted to play for was Hamilton. I can't tell you why."
The Eskimos dealt Maas and a sixth-round Canadian college draft pick for aged quarterback Danny McManus, offensive lineman Tim Bakker, defensive back Imokhai Atogwe and the first overall pick in the draft. This transaction is widely believed to be the future considerations element to an Oct. 5 swap that sent Tay Cody, Brock Ralph and Edmonton's first-round draft pick to Hamilton for Troy Davis and Dan Comiskey, two key elements in the Eskimos' Grey Cup run.
During Grey Cup week the Eskimos signed Maas to a two-year contract that pays him about $300,000 per season, a pact Hamilton was notified about earlier this week. Eskimos' chief executive officer Hugh Campbell said they were fulfilling a promise to a loyal player.
"Guys who are playing are making so much more money than guys who aren't at the quarterback position. I promised him we wouldn't trade him until he had a starter's contract."
Maas was their undisputed starter in 2001 and 2004 and won the team's most outstanding player nomination each year. In 108 total games with Edmonton, he threw for 11,250 yards and 65 TDs. This season he stood on the sidelines for all but a few plays in the 18th game of the regular season, before coming off the bench to win the Western Semifinal and Final. Before the season began, he told Eskimo brass he wanted to be traded prior to the 2006 campaign. "He needs to play, he will play and he'll play real well," said
Eskimos coach Danny Maciocia. "I'm probably going to be the biggest Ticats fan in Western Canada now. How can you not root for Jason Maas, for all he stands for and represents?"
Maas is at once a sympathetic figure and yet a much stronger human being than he was in 2000, when he arrived as a hotheaded rookie who couldn't abide criticism in the media or the stands at Commonwealth Stadium.
"This is extremely tough on me," he said. "Edmonton is where I have a true family, where I feel comfortable. I've given everything I possibly have to this organization in the last six years. I'm a lot better person today. I've grown up a ton in the six years I've been here. They were the best years of my life, really."
Â© The Edmonton Journal 2005