Boo me, please

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Public Ed-emy No. 1? A Renege-ade of the first order?

In Ottawa, perhaps. But not in the Edmonton Eskimos' locker room or the city Ed Hervey plans to call home when his playing days are over.

Lining up against the Ottawa Renegades for the first time since the now-infamous non-signing with the East Division club is going to be a breeze for the veteran receiver.

Unless Hervey stinks the joint out in the team's season opener, he's not likely to be booed by the Green and Gold fans at Commonwealth Stadium tomorrow night.

When the teams collide next month at Frank Clair Stadium, Hervey knows it won't be pretty.

"I hope they come out and I hope they sell out and everybody in the stadium is yelling my name and telling me how much they dislike me," Hervey said yesterday. "I'm issuing a challenge to the fans in Ottawa: Please come to the (July 21) game and boo me. Fill the seats, bring whatever, just don't throw anything."

Not only is Hervey anticipating a healthy dose of Capital punishment, he's potentially looking to get in on the act by selling T-shirts emblazoned with 'Ed Hervey Bash'.

"I don't know if I'll be able to get them made in time," he said. "I guess I'd better make them black and red because if I make them green and gold they probably won't sell.

DOESN'T BLAME FANS

"I have less than seven days to get them on the press. But if I can get some word people out there would buy them I'd definitely make them."

Under the circumstances, the Texas-born wide-out doesn't blame Ottawa fans for being upset. Hervey says he would be too, if he were in their shoes.

Were it not for some arm twisting over dinner with teammates, an 11th-hour pitch by the Esks brass and a magnanimous gesture that will end up costing kicker Sean Fleming a total of $30,000, Hervey may well have signed with Ottawa.

But Fleming wasn't about to stand by and watch his buddy bolt for Bytown.

"We need Ed here, team-wise" explained Fleming of his decision to cough up $15,000 in salary for each of the two remaining seasons on his current contract to keep Hervey in Edmonton silks.

"We need him on the field and we need him in the locker room. This will pay dividends for the team in the playoffs (and Grey Cup) and that's where I recoup my money."

Hervey has talked with Ottawa head coach and general manager Joe Paopao since the affair which reportedly saw Hervey verbally agree on a contract only to have second thoughts.

Unfortunately, Ottawa's media relations department issued a press release trumpeting Hervey's signing as a done deal. Paopao was left to explain Hervey's decision to stay in Edmonton. "I made a couple of calls and that situation has been cleared up," Hervey said. "He understands my situation and he has no problems with me."

MORE GOING ON

Throughout the ordeal rookie Esks' head coach Danny Maciocia insisted Hervey had not signed with the Renegades and was vindicated.

Like the Renegades and CFL league office, Maciocia is looking to put Hervey-gate behind him.

"To me, that's something in the past that's done with," said Maciocia, one of those present at the restaurant summit.


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