GM stamps out rumour

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Eric Tillman is still wearing his Renegades GM cap, but he could exchange it for a cowboy hat next season.

A hot rumour circulating throughout the CFL suggests Tillman will join the Calgary Stampeders next year as an aide to GM/coach and close friend Matt Dunigan. But Tillman has denied any discussions have taken place.

Tillman told the Sun yesterday he knows nothing about the rumour, which was raised by Rogers Sportsnet's Jim Lang on the Team 1200 yesterday. Instead, Tillman insists he is concentrating solely on the 'Gades slim playoff hopes.

"My focus is -- and always has been -- this football team," said Tillman, whose contract with the Renegades expires at the end of the season and isn't expected to be renewed. "Who knows what's going to happen next year? It will bring whatever it brings.

PLAYOFF BATTLE

"I don't know what's going to happen next year. I could be picking cotton in Mississippi for all I know. All I'm thinking about right now is the fact that this club wants to finish strong and we've still got an opportunity to make the playoffs."

Obviously, Calgary's gain would be a huge loss for Ottawa. While it's true the 'Gades haven't had the kind of season they expected, there is no arguing with Tillman's track record. During his three seasons with the team, he has brought in Josh Ranek, Jason Armstead, Kerry Joseph, Kelly Wiltshire, Gerald Vaughn and Lawrence Tynes, among others.

A move into the same position with the Stamps would make sense, since Dunigan has proven he's in over his head trying to perform the dual role of GM/coach. But Tillman has a job to finish in Ottawa and he's still under contract.

The Renegades are five points back of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Eastern Conference standings with two games remaining against the Tabbies. There's still hope, even if it's just mathematical, of making the playoffs.

That's why Tillman was parked in front of his television set watching Thanksgiving Day battles between British Columbia-Toronto and Edmonton-Montreal.

The CFL trade deadline is set for Wednesday at midnight, but Tillman doesn't expect to make any massive changes.

"(Coach) Joe Paopao and I are planning to talk (today) after these games and see if there's any situations where we might be able to do something," said Tillman. "Who knows? Maybe somebody gets an injury to a key player and they want to to do something. We'll have to see.

"Nobody is going to give up anything you need at this point of the season. We have an injury to Kerry Joseph and we're confident that Darnell Kennedy can go in there and get the job done. You're always looking to strengthen your Canadian content, but nobody wants to make those deals."

While the Renegades are now a playoff longshot, Tillman isn't ready to surrender just yet.

"Yes, the odds are stacked against us and we know we've put ourselves in a difficult position," said Tillman.

"But the only way we can control this situation is by going out and winning our games. That has to be our focus. Not one person on this team has given up hope. We feel we've got a chance and we're going to keep fighting."


Videos

Photos