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Positive COVID-19 test stuns Alouettes head coach Khari Jones

Positive COVID-19 test stuns Alouettes head coach Khari Jones
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“I feel like I’m a really careful person,” Jones said Tuesday, after the team announced his positive test hours earlier, although he remains asymptomatic. “No one would like to follow me around. There’s not much I do except go to the office and come home. And I walk home. I do a lot to make sure this doesn’t happen. That’s why it stunned me.

“If it happened to someone, it’s good it’s someone who doesn’t get on the field and makes plays,” Jones added.

André Bolduc, the team’s assistant head coach who also mentors the running backs, ran practice on Tuesday and will be in control Saturday. Bolduc, who has been a head coach at the university level, at Sherbrooke,. Bolduc will work in conjunction with Mike Lionello, an offensive assistant, who has CFL experience with Toronto and the Lions.

Although Adams was in close contact with Jones on Sunday, when the team resumed practice and hours before the head coach received his diagnosis, he and his teammates have continued to test negative. No one in the Als organization believes the coming game is in jeopardy.

“I’m not too worried,” Adams said. “I just wanted to make sure Khari’s ok; make sure his health is good. He reassured us.

“I think Khari’s done a great job preparing me the last few years and this year especially. Everyone has to be prepared for any type of curve ball, trust our talents and techniques. The coaches are doing a good job, making sure we’re taking care of the little things.”

Other than fatigue and aches, Jones said he feels good. Football coaches put in long hours. That, combined with the cross-country travel and time change, led Jones to believe he was simply worn down. The only time he was around more than family last week, he added, was while travelling. Jones said his family has tested negative. He must remain quarantined at home for a minimum 10 days, then must twice test negative before being allowed to return.

While Jones obviously would be amenable to calling plays from home, provided the technology permitted, a CFL spokesman told the Montreal Gazette that was highly unlikely, considering the television delay and 20-second play clock — although officials at the Toronto head office are exploring the possibility.

Bolduc, for his part, made it clear the coaching staff won’t be attempting to reinvent the wheel. He’s only keeping the seat, and headset, warm until Jones returns. Following the Lions game, the Als travel to Toronto on Sept. 24.

“We work hand in hand … together daily,” Bolduc said. “I know what he wants. I’m not going to change anything. We’re not gamblers. We’re not people who are going to take high risks. I’ll just follow his footprint and be a manager of the game, the way he does. There’s not much difference between him and myself managing the game.”

Bolduc said he and Jones know each other so well that little communication between the two is required.

“Most of the time, we don’t have to talk,” he said. “We just look at each other. He knows what I want or what I think and he calls it. It’s weird. I’m here to echo his message — and the message is clear.”

Jones is the second Montreal head coach to test positive for COVID-19 after the Canadiens’ Dominique Ducharme missed part of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup final.
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