'Gades pick up the peace

Renegades receiver Curtis Jackson goes up for a catch during practice at Frank Clair Stadium...

Renegades receiver Curtis Jackson goes up for a catch during practice at Frank Clair Stadium yesterday afternoon. (Ottawa Sun/Tony Caldwell)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

No fighting? No skirmishes? Sure enough, the Renegades finally decided to give peace a chance.

Following a rancorous practice the previous day that featured a star player getting flattened by a brash newcomer, rampant trash talking between receivers and defensive backs, and a profanity-laced exchange between the coach and one of his players, a more placid atmosphere surrounded the team yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium.

Whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen as the club prepares for Saturday night's pivotal match at home against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"Some days you go from no emotion to the other extreme," said coach Joe Paopao who had terse words with cornerback Bo Rogers during Tuesday's practice. "There were times when I played when there were (fights) daily."

Weighing more heavily on Paopao's mind is the health of his team -- particularly the Canadians on his depleted roster.

At the start of the year, the Renegades were loaded with Canadian talent, considered a key element on any CFL roster.

But season-ending injuries to five starters during the season and a number of other less severe ailments to other Canadians have created a situation where the team has gone from playing with more than the required minimum of 19 homebreds to a scramble just to meet the quota.

BIKE CRASH

Blocking back Mike Maurer, one of those Canadians, will probably play on Saturday, but he missed yesterday's practice to give his body extra recovery time after colliding with a car on Bank St. while driving a bicycle to Tuesday's practice.

He suffered some minor bruises and an injured Achilles tendon in the collision.

"I think I'll be able to play because it's just a bruise. It's not like I broke anything," he said.

If Maurer can't play, Vancouver native Mike Vilimek would be the starting fullback against the Roughriders.

Defensive back Hassan Probherbs will also make his first appearance on the Renegades roster. The Bronx native, considered a Canadian because he lived in Montreal as a youngster, joined the team just days prior to training camp in a trade that sent receiver Denis Montana to the Calgary stampeders.

Kicker Brian Holmes takes over for Sandro Sciortino who is at home in Markham recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous testicle.

Holmes, an American, lined up as a punter on a few plays yesterday, but Paopao said Canadian Pat Fleming would handle the punting duties on Saturday.


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