Reconstruction zone

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Alouettes 43, Renegades 23

In his new team's most recent darkest hour, Bernie Glieberman managed a trick he never really learned as owner of the Rough Riders.

He bit his lip.

The same impulsive soul who once fumed inside a SkyDome elevator on his way to fire head coach Ron Smeltzer, only to find out that Stephane Jones had scored a last-minute touchdown while he was on the lift to give the Riders a dramatic come-from-behind victory, Glieberman refused comment on Joe Paopao's future or much else in the way of his true feelings moments after a 43-23 loss to the Alouettes yesterday.

He did, however, insist that he and his son Lonie weren't going anywhere, anytime soon.

"We're here for the long haul," said Glieberman, a 51% shareholder of the Renegades who will be widely criticized for cutting ties with Paopao -- whom he referred to as a "wonderful human being" -- and replacing him with the slightly wacky John Jenkins.

"I want to build a long-term, championship team, and I'll take the knocks to do it. I've learned you don't take short cuts to build a solid team that just keeps getting better."

There appears to be a some serious reconstruction work ahead after the Renegades surrendered at least 40 points for the sixth time this year -- and more than 37 for the ninth time. The defence has a gaping hole or two, but it's not helped much by an offence that has craters.

Glieberman maintains the team has heart and expects it will show in next Saturday's finale against T.O.

"I watched their last game of the season on TV last year and it meant nothing to them," he said. "They were in a goal-line stand and they were fighting ... this team has a lot of pride and I think they will play very well next week."

And I think for a game that means nothing to either Ottawa and Toronto, he might want to adopt a one-day open-house policy.

It'll attract flies, but they're gonna need some company.

High and Outside:

Yesterday's game began in typical Renegades fashion. The anthem was too slow and drawn out, more than 300 people were still standing in line waiting to get in at an entrance behind the east end zone when the game began, Ottawa's first punt attempt was blocked and run back for a touchdown and the scoreboard's power went out. Did nobody attend rehearsal? ... When Anthony Collier is good, he's outstanding. A.C. intercepted the first pass thrown by A.C. (Anthony Calvillo) using just one hand -- similar to a pick he had in Saskatchewan. Once again, Collier followed with a lateral that this time Greg Moss took to the endzone, but the play was brought back by yet another bad Ottawa penalty ... Lonie Glieberman said the backup at the entrance was probably due to the fact the U.S. ambassador was at the game and the city beefed up security. So how come the line suddenly started moving like there was nobody even checking tickets after the Als went up by seven?

Sideline to Sideline:

Forrest Gregg says the Renegades continue to have discussions with Kerry Joseph's representative and that upper management is going to "spend some time" with the quarterback, who is entering the option year of a contract that could pay him between $350,000-400,000 the way it stands. "We talked to the agent, we wanted to find out if Kerry is interested in coming back," said Gregg. "The answer was affirmative." ... Asked if the Renegades were likely to make an off-season deal with the Als for the neg rights to Jesse Palmer, Gregg replied: "I wouldn't say it's totally out of the realm, but it's probably not that realistic, either." ... Let the records show the Renegades didn't really get knocked out of the playoff race yesterday. They were knocked out last week when they lost a game they should have won in Hamilton ... The daily DJT (Devastating Joseph Turnover) came after the QB combined with Jason Armstead on a 49 yard, heel-clicking completion from under the shadows of the Ottawa goalposts. Ecstasy turned to agony as Joseph's fumble on the next play was returned 32 yards by the Als, who scored a couple of plays later to go ahead 21-17 ... Yo Murphy made the most sense (as usual) in post-game discussions about the "distraction" of Paopao losing his job at season's end. "People think about it a lot, but when we come out on the field fighting for our lives, it shouldn't matter," he said. "We had the opportunity to get in the playoffs by winning two games and we didn't do it."

Late Hits:

Paopao responded "could be" when asked if QB Brad Banks would start next week's game against Toronto. Read that as a "Yes." ... Maybe they ran out of the uniform sweats that inactive Renegades wore on the sidelines, but maybe they could have also asked injured LB Robert Grant to leave his graphic "Death Row" jacket in the closet for a few hours ... Korey Banks will be Ottawa's most outstanding defensive player nominee (at least) and a former Renegade once he signs with an NFL team in the off-season. That is, unless the team can somehow make his parting comment on post-game TV interview stand up as legal and binding. "See y'all next year," Banks said ... Armstead, on next week's nothing-at-stake game: "I'm not going to quit. We have to finish the season and try not to embarrass ourselves totally."

DON.BRENNAN@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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