Ex-mates happy Maas will now get to play
Font: * * * * Scott Petersen, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2005
EDMONTON -- Ed Hervey is happy to see Jason Maas go.
It has nothing to do with spite. He likes his former quarterback, thought he played an immense role in the Grey Cup championship run and was great in the community.
Hervey just thinks of this as a well-deserved opportunity for Maas after he put his own ego aside and tried hard to avoid any controversy as the Edmonton Eskimos' backup quarterback.
"He's a number one class guy, but it would be selfish to have him play the same role he played this year just because he has so much ability," said the Eskimos receiver and locker-room leader. "This is football and change is always imminent. And he deserves to start and we all know that. ... And for him to finally get to start is a blessing."
Maas was officially traded to Hamilton Friday to complete a long-rumoured deal. He heads to the Tiger-Cats along with a sixth round draft choice in the 2006 Canadian College Draft. The Eskimos receive quarterback Danny McManus, offensive lineman Tim Bakker, Canadian defensive back Imokhai Atogwe and the draft's first overall selection in return.
Maas pushed starter, and Grey Cup MVP, Ricky Ray during the season but his arm was largely unused until the playoffs. Still, Hervey said Maas's role mentoring newer receivers, being a go-between for the players and coaches, and providing some fiery emotion was integral to the team's success.
Now the two quarterbacks are both starters on their respective teams. And neither has to answer the question of whether they think they should start over the other.
"I think it's time for him (Ray) now to blossom without any pressure over whether he should be in or shouldn't be in," said Hervey. "He gets the opportunity to have his own team as well."
McManus, the veteran Tiger-Cats quarterback who previously played in Edmonton in 1996-97, may slide into the backup role behind Ray, although Jason Johnson, the Esks' No. 3 pivot from this past season, may have something to say about that. McManus brings a wealth of CFL experience to the table and led Hamilton to the Grey Cup final in 1998 and a championship in 1999.
"I don't know Danny very well but hopefully we can compete and have fun with it and leave it on the field," said Ray.
"Losing Jason is going to be tough for this team. He's such a leader. He's a guy that rubs off on everybody because of his hard work, his character and how much he cares for this team. The guys left over have to do the teaching now."
Hervey expects the Tiger-Cats to vastly improve under Maas's leadership. The team finished a disappointing 5-13 and missed the playoffs.
"He's going to be very demanding of his players and his receivers, but if the guys follow his lead, they'll have a lot of success," he email@example.com