Ed's an Esk — again

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Early yesterday morning Ed Hervey was introduced and hailed as an Ottawa Renegade in absentia.

After the 31-year-old wide out elected to re-sign with the Edmonton Eskimos at around noon local time he was being regarded as a Renege-ade by Ottawa football fans.

An announcement issued by Hervey's representatives at ProStar Sports Agency late Wednesday said the two-time CFL Western Division all-star had agreed verbally to a three-year deal with Ottawa.

But after dining with Esks kicker Sean Fleming and linebacker Singor Mobley, having his arm twisted a little by the team's brass and re-thinking his decision, Hervey had a change of heart.

That allowed Edmonton to retain the services of the man widely regarded as the biggest deep threat in the CFL.

"I didn't need a whole lot of convincing," explained Hervey less than two hours after signing on the dotted line with the Esks.

"I walked into the Eskimo office two weeks ago and sat down with (head) coach (Danny) Maciocia, (team president and CEO) Hugh Campbell and (COO) Rick LeLacheur and said, 'Give me the time until free agency. I don't want to entertain any offers. I just want to sit back and wait and see what's out there, then I'll make my decision.' I like to consider myself a man of my word."

PEEP SHOW

Given Hervey was in the free agent pool less than 24 hours, that look amounted to a peep show.

In the end, it was Hervey's familiarity with the Esks' organization and city coupled with a deal worth roughly $130,000 per season that kept him in town.

Still, weighing the pros of staying in Edmonton versus a move to Ottawa was enough to keep Hervey up all night.

"You have to sit back and realize what it is that you really want," said the obviously sleep-deprived receiver as he faced the media. "I spent most of the night thinking, 'What do I want for Ed Hervey?'

"Ed Hervey wanted to be with his extended family. If anyone has any problem with that, sorry about that. This is where I want to be. I'm very pleased to be here."

Hervey declined comment on the actions of his representatives at ProStar or the future of his relationship with the agency in the wake of yesterday's events.

APOLOGY

However, the six-year Green and Gold veteran did apologize to the Ottawa Renegades management and fans.

Despite print and electronic reports that Hervey was headed east, Maciocia steadfastly denied that was the case throughout the morning yesterday.

"I know Ed is a man of his word," Maciocia reiterated at the media conference. "He said all along that he would tell us what his intentions were.

"In my heart and in my mind, until Ed Hervey picked up the phone or walked through the door and told me he was going to Ottawa or elsewhere, there was no doubt in my mind where he would be playing."

In a statement issued by ProStar shortly before the Esks' media conference, the firm defended the release of an e-mail which said Hervey had a verbal agreement with Ottawa.

According to that statement, "early (yesterday) morning, the Eskimos contacted Hervey and indicated they would 'match Ottawa's offer' and Hervey subsequently notified the Renegades that he would not sign their contract and that he was returning to the Eskimos."

LeLacheur, understands there's going to be some long faces in the National Capital Region.

Since there was no signed agreement, it's a case of no harm, no foul as far as he's concerned.

"In talking to (Hervey) again this morning, he hadn't signed," LeLacheur said following the media conference. "I think clearly it's what Ed said. He wanted to sleep on it. I just don't know about the communication between the agent and Ottawa."


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