Kerry Joseph's final run of the season was from local TV, radio and newspapermen.
But after initially declining interviews -- and following a persuasive talk with the team's media relations man -- the Renegades quarterback finally agreed to a conference call and conversation yesterday about a "sterno cavicular joint sprain" that will keep him sidelined for the remaining three games.
"It's frustrating, really frustrating," said Joseph, who left Saturday's 32-25 loss to Saskatchewan at 5:12 of the first quarter, two plays after his 46-yard sprint through the middle of the Roughriders defence ended with a hard landing. "That's the only way I can explain it right now.
"This is the first time I've ever experienced a season like this," added the 31-year-old CFL sophomore, who also missed three earlier games with a foot injury that still hampered him after he returned to action Aug. 19. "It's frustrating the way things have gone, as a team, and then my injuries ... after so many years without ever getting hurt, and now this happens. It's just frustrating."
The Renegades' No. 4 could return if they qualify for the playoffs, but after this weekend, that's about as likely as the NHL starting up on time this week.
They need to win all three of their remaining games -- two of them against a Hamilton team playing much football than Ottawa right now -- and hope the Ticats lose to the Toronto Argos on Oct. 21.
And oh, the Renegades would also have to beat the Montreal Alouettes at the Big O in two weeks.
The injury -- which is to Joseph's throwing side, near the collarbone -- means he'll finish with a completion percentage of around 62% (179-of-287) that, heading into Week 14, ranked third best in the CFL. Joseph has thrown 12 touchdown passes and eight interceptions, plus carried the ball 46 times for 351 yards for a 7.8 yard average that ranked best among the league's top 20 ball carriers.
Replacing him at the helm will be Darnell Kennedy, who completed 16-of-29 attempts after entering Saturday's game and has one win in three career starts over the past three years.
Joseph says he'll offer his support "mentally" over the final three weeks.
"We're professional football players, this is our job, it's what we do," he replied when asked how the team will be able to stay focused the rest of the way. "We still have to play. The guys know that."
By now, the guys should also know the perils of committing fouls, but that didn't stop them from drawing way too many flags again Saturday. Ottawa paid dearly while penalized 19 times for 146 yards, as Saskatchewan drew nine flags for 90 yards.
The worst penalty the Renegades took came with the score tied at 25s late in the fourth quarter, a offside call on tackle John Turntine that erased what would have been a Turntine fumble recovery. The worst non-call of the night was the decision to overlook an obvious pass interference call on Curtis Jackson in the Saskatchewan end zone the series previous.
That meant the Renegades had to settle for the tying field goal.
"I believe in my heart they're doing the best they can," Renegades offensive co-ordinator Kani Kauahi said of the officials as he met with the press yesterday while Joe Paopao fulfilled obligations to spend time with kids visiting from the Cree Nation in northern Quebec.
"We're to the point where we're not going to look at anybody (for the blame) but ourselves. We're done looking anywhere else."