Deja vu all over again for Hudson

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

It's totally cruel yet officially safe to dust off one of the all-time great kick-a-guy-when-he's-down slams, given the recent events at what has now become Never Wynne Stadium for the home team.

"You know what's going to happen if Ottawa gets a CFL franchise, don't you? Hamilton is going to want one, too."

Yesterday, we zinged that zinger off the closest 300-lb. Ticat we could find -- by looking at our speed dial. He was about 500 km. away, and not amused.

"Great joke, buddy," George Hudson said sarcastically into his cellphone from the Tabbies' locker room.

Okay, so how about this one?

If Ottawa is granted a CFL franchise for next season -- as signs are pointing -- there's talk the league will help make the new team competitive by allowing the other clubs to protect only six Canadians each heading into the expansion draft.

That would leave some decent talent available for the Ottawa Riders, who would be wise to grab Hudson off the Ticats if they were crazy enough to make him available. As one of the highest paid offensive linemen in the CFL and playing for a team that has not scored a touchdown nor a field goal in its last three home games, isn't it at least possible such could be the case? Should anyone sit safe from a monumental shakeup if things keep going the way they're going in Steeltown?

"What would I do?" Hudson repeated when presented the hypothetical. "I'd come back. What else am I supposed to do?

"That would be funny, though. That would be odd."

And oh so ironic. Hudson's defection is one of the reasons there is no team in the nation's capital.

Offered a five-year contract figured to be in the $800,000 range last February, Big George completed the obligatory soul-searching and then spurned the Renegades. One day into his free agency, he signed a deal with the Ticats that was for the same duration and what Hudson says was "just a little less money."

Bernie Glieberman was stunned. Already convinced by "confidants" that his team was going to sink to new lows, he threw up his hands when Hudson, a perennial all-star, snubbed his open wallet.

"I just had a feeling," Hudson said yesterday. "I didn't want to sign a five-year contract (in Ottawa), then have to play four years in Winnipeg or some place else after a dispersal draft. I had a feeling the team could (fold)."

He also had a strong desire to play closer to his hometown of St. Catharines and for Joe Paopao and Kani Kauahi, a pair he worked for in Ottawa and had just signed on as the offensive co-ordinator and offensive line coach in Hamilton.

What grated on the Gliebermans, however, was Hudson's statement that he left to play for a winner.

In Hamilton? The Ticats finished in the Eastern Division basement last season, four points behind the Renegades.

The Ticats had a promising coach, aggressive free-agent plans and an owner who knew how to fill a stadium, but on the field there was no proof they were going to be any better than what Hudson was leaving behind.

LONG DROUGHTS

Hudson had said long losing droughts in Ottawa kept him indoors, uninterested in even shopping for groceries because it meant people would ask what's wrong with his team or look at him and whisper to each other.

Funny the way things turn out, eh? About seven other teams would have loved to have added Hudson, and he wound up with one that is now 2-9 and virtually out of the playoff race in August.

"I let my wife go shopping alone," Hudson said, in a familiar ring. "I just don't like showing my face in public these days."

Hudson was upset, but not surprised, to see his friends Paopao and Kauahi canned this week.

"When you don't perform on offence, that happens," he said, refusing to pinpoint exactly why the Ticats are playing so poorly with the ball. "It's not one thing. There's just always something breaking down."

And yet it could be worse for Hudson. He could be Pascal Cherron. Another Renegade lineman who bolted for Hamilton last winter, Cherron suffered a season-ending injury a couple of weeks ago and is now going through rehab on a reconstructed knee.

At least Hudson can take out his frustrations on guys wearing different colour jerseys once a week.

"It is very frustrating," he admitted of his situation. "But I'm still happy with my decision to come here. I wanted to come back home. I have a lot of family support here. It helps quite a bit. But they do have a lot of questions."

As close as his relatives are, they likely don't dare ask Hudson what's going to happen if Ottawa gets a CFL franchise.


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