Eager Maas ready for fresh start
Former Eskimos QB hopes to lead Tiger-Cats from CFL basement to league's penthouse
Font: * * * * The Canadian Press
Published: Thursday, December 08, 2005
HAMILTON - Fresh off a Grey Cup title with the Edmonton Eskimos, quarterback Jason Maas is prepared for his next challenge -- leading the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to similar glory.
Hamilton acquired Maas in a blockbuster trade Friday for quarterback Danny McManus, offensive lineman Tim Bakker, defensive back Imokhai Atogwe and the first pick overall in the 2006
CFL Canadian college draft.
The Ticats officially introduced Maas during a news conference Wednesday. Maas will wear No. 11 with Hamilton, opting against having the
No. 12 he had while in Edmonton. Maas said seeing as he's now with a new club, it was only fitting that he donned a new number.
Maas, who promptly signed a two-year deal with an option for 2008, said he's excited about the team's prospects. The Hamilton Spectator reported that Mass's new contract is worth $300,000 annually.
"I want training camp to be here tomorrow," Maas said. "I'm looking forward to working hard as I can in the next six months to prove to everyone that (the Tiger-Cats) made the right choice. I'm so thrilled, I'm almost speechless.
"I think this organization is going in the right direction, I can see it. I'm also looking forward to working hard the next six months to prove to everyone that they made the right choice here."
The 30-year-old led Edmonton to a pair of second-half comebacks in the post-season as the Eskimos went on to capture their 13th Grey Cup with a 38-35 overtime win over the Montreal Alouettes. In 108 career games with Edmonton, he completed 746 of 1,211 pass attempts for 11,250 yards and 65 touchdowns. He was named to the West Division all-star team in 2001.
Ticats coach Greg Marshall believes Maas will provide a much-needed boost for a Tiger-Cats offence that scored a league-low 383 points in 2005.
"We are building some good things here and in the CFL it certainly starts at the quarterback position," Ticat head coach Greg Marshall said. "He is a competitor, he is a leader, he throws well ... he has all the skills to be a great quarterback in the CFL.
"Jason is experienced, he's played a lot, he has a great work ethic, and I believe the best years of his career are ahead of him."
Hamilton (5-13) finished last in the CFL's East Division this season.
Maas plans to return to Hamilton once the club hires a new offensive co-ordinator, a move that's expected to be completed next week. The addition of Maas, combined with the emergence of rookie Kevin Eakin, gives Hamilton a solid 1-2 punch at quarterback.
Maas, who spent the season as the backup to Edmonton incumbent Ricky Ray and only threw three passes in the regular season, said he isn't concerned about the inactivity affecting him for 2006. Maas cited his 2004 performance, where he threw for more than 5,200 yards despite spending the previous season on the bench.
"People can say, 'You didn't play last year, how are you going to do it next year?' " said Maas, who expects to match or exceed his output from two seasons ago. "(The 2004 season) is what I have to go on. I know what I have to do to prepare for the season."
The Tiger-Cats also announced they've re-signed defensive ends Tim Cheatwood and James Cotton, who combined for 16 sacks for the Tiger-Cats in 2005.
Â© The Edmonton Journal 2005