CFL has chance not to screw up

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

Barring an unforeseen collapse or the stupid-level of a league and its governors reaching an all-time high, the Renegades will soon be in position to announce their 2005 off-field roster.

It will include owners Bernie Glieberman (51%) and Bill Smith, as well as minority shareholders Bill and Brad Watters. John Lisowski will remain as CEO. Forrest Gregg will be the VP of football operations. Joe Paopao the coach and GM. And Lonie Glieberman will likely assume the position of president, possibly while doing some part-time work as the cheerleader co-ordinator.

There could also be an offer made to ex-GM Eric Tillman, although if that's coming it's likely still down the road.

This week, Tillman took his first job since his contract with the Renegades ran out in December when he officially became Rogers Sportnet's new Football Insider.

A former TSN analyst who has a degree in journalism, Tillman will provide regular CFL and NFL insights on the network's sportscasts and write a column on its website.

Tillman is looking forward to what he recognizes as a tremendous opportunity, and chuckles over the fact that it started at a time when there was plenty to talk about -- namely the futures of commissioner Tom Wright and Renegades ownership.

"The first week was like getting in a car and finding out the accelerator is stuck on the floor," Tillman said yesterday in Ottawa, where he will continue to live. "You'd like to start out in the slow lane."

Tillman's in a good place, either way. With his new gig, he'll be in the living rooms and hence foremost in the minds of teams looking to make a hire. He'll also stay in close touch with his contacts.

While it's believed he'd settle only for an upper management position with a football team, Tillman refuses to speculate past the moment.

"When I was in my 20s, everything I was doing I was thinking about what will come next," he said. "One of the things I've learned as I've gotten older is to enjoy what you have when you have it and the future will take care of itself."

Meanwhile, Lonie Glieberman very much likes what Tillman can offer.

"Eric has a great record in this league," said Glieberman. "He has won two Grey Cups ... he came to a B.C. team that had finished last and turned it into a first-place team, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. But at this point, it's not fair to answer questions on who we will hire or not hire because we don't own the team."

Barring a rise in the stupid-level, that will happen soon enough. And then Glieberman will have to decide when, how and if he can add an Insider to the Renegades' off-field roster.

NEWS AND VIEWS: Two weeks ago the Edmonton Eskimos announced they had signed LB Kelly Wiltshire, something they actually did three months ago. Yesterday, they announced the signing of RB Mike Maurer, which actually happened two months ago. Next week, we expect the Eskimos to tell us all they have won the 2002 Grey Cup ... NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin says, after the union and the league had three days of meetings on competition and economic issues, "an additional three days of CBA discussions have been scheduled next week, with the first two days dedicated to reviewing economic and financial reporting issues." Maybe this is why some of us just can't sink our teeth into the world hockey championship at all. We're too busy hitting the refresh button on our computers waiting for riveting updates on CBA discussions from Saskin ... To see Dale Hunter in person is to be convinced the surly London Knights coach would rather be anywhere than in a seat before reporters at a post-game press conference. To see Hunter in person is to also realize he must have had a custom-made helmet when he played in the NHL. The man has a huge noodle.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM ... : The big bold letters on the 67's website scream it all: We Need A Miracle. Three straight wins over the Knights, including two in London, would qualify as just that ... Imagine, if the city had downsized the Civic Centre like he lobbied for prior to the Jeff Hunt era, maybe there wouldn't be enough room for former mayor Jim Watson to be bouncing around at playoff games these days wearing his 67's jersey ... How ridiculous that CFL governors are reportedly flustered over Lonie Glieberman discussing on this page last week how he lost his virginity as well as other "personal details." For one thing, such questions have been posed to many in Quick Hits (which will return next week) and even more outrageous answers than that given by Glieberman have not created such a stir. Shouldn't the league be more worried about the rebuilding of a franchise that's been left to decay? To all those worried about the cheerleader co-ordinator reference way up above, relax. It was a joke. And take off that tie, for gawd sakes. It's the weekend. It's okay to enjoy yourself.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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