Friday, January 07, 2005

Confusing signals from the Renegade brigade

Just when you think things are going oh so smoothly, up pops a bit of confusion to make you think oh, oh here we go again.

With the glow of the good times, good football and positive vibes of Grey Cup weekend now long gone. It's the cold wind off the Rideau canal that blows through the Renegade offices. With ownership in apparent disarray, the Rens at least managed to get someone onboard to make a few player personnel decisions for the CFL team.

Welcome Back Joe Paopao, we guess that Winnipeg Head Coach Jim Daley can now scratch your name from his possibles list, with your decision to not only return as head coach of the Rens, but to add on the duties of General Manager to your resume.

With some massive indecision that had started to resemble a rather sad joke, the Rens finally made up their mind regarding the status of former GM Eric Tilman and the hanging in the wind Paopao. Tilman was left to explain that no he hadn't been negotiating for another job (though as things turned out he might have wished he had tried a little harder one guesses) and had unfinished business in Ottawa. It would seem now that the unfinished business is to pack up the house and buy the tickets back to the States.

With Tilman exiting, Paopao takes centre stage of the Rens. His task now is to reassure the current Rens that things are stable, that the team has a plan and probably most importantly that the paycheques will keep flowing.

Now the last one is a pretty easy one, Brad Watters co-owner (for now) of the Rens has said that there is no question of the Renegades continuing on with their CFL experience in the next year. Which will be welcome news from the once jilted CFL fans of the capital.

Of course the rumours of the return of the Glieberman's will keep the team in the headlines over the cold cold months of winter. Lonnie and Bernie are ready and willing to pony up the cash to take on equity with the team that was once theirs. And perhaps that is the most tangible signal that things may not be all okey dokey in Ottawa. With a reported loss of 2 million dollars (and that comes on the heels of hosting the money making Grey Cup) the Rens are in a bit of a cash squeeze it seems. Some owners want out, but are holding up their departure for just the right deal.

For now fans of the Rens should just be thankful that the throwin' Samoan is back in the game, it's a signal of some stability and the popular coach will offer a calming influence to things while the business details work out. With players to sign, players to scout and on field plans to make, Paopao may be the busiest guy on Bank street for the next few months.

Keeping a watchful eye on things is the league office in Toronto, Commissioner Tom Wright has been prodding the current owners to get on with the job, lest the noise of a league on the cusp of trouble start to get louder. So far the only other forward move besides signing Paopao has been to jack up the price of tickets, not exactly a reward for loyalty for the long suffering Rens fans.

For the CFL it's run of positives of 2004 are still being used to create some buzz about the league, the last thing they need is an internal feud breaking out into the open taking the franchise to the mat with it.

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