'Gades pack up their troubles

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Most Renegades players had mixed feelings as they cleaned out their lockers and put a bewildering 2004 CFL season to bed yesterday.

On one hand, they were glad it was all over. On the other, well, they weren't.

"It's almost like a nightmare, and I finally get to wake up from it," said quarterback Kerry Joseph, who missed a third of the season with injuries. "But I still wish I could be playing football."

Especially playing it the way the Renegades began, when they won their first three games. In Week 4, though, Joseph sprained ligaments in the top of his foot, and the club's offence was never the same.

Forever trailing, it seemed, the Renegades got away from a running game that was so instrumental in the first three weeks. Josh Ranek surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in Saturday's finale, but he was half way there through the first month of the season.

'FRUSTRATING'

"It was a very frustrating year," said Ranek. "To see the potential we had ... hopefully we can figure it out and go from there.

"I love playing the game. To be going home now is sad. Anytime the season is over, unless you win the Cup, it's a disappointment."

Receiver Pat Woodcock, a much-celebrated free-agent signing, never did get untracked playing in his hometown.

"In all fairness to Pat, at that time (signing) him was the right call," said coach Joe Paopao. "Ten to one, he'll probably have a great year, next year."

The Renegades will hold their team party at the Civic Centre tonight, with a number of players unsure if they'll be back in 2005.

First-year defensive lineman John Turntine has a teaching job lined up at a California high school for the offseason. He also has a shot at a similar position at a junior college near Los Angeles and, if offered a job there, he might have to give up "the dream" of playing football.

DILEMMA

"Most likely, I'll be back," said Turntine. "But if I do get one of the positions and they don't want me to leave ... I'm just in a dilemma.

"I'm going to prepare either way. I'm going to study the whole CFL game. I love this league. I hope I'm back."

Promising safety Kryies Hebert could get another look in the NFL.

"If they pick up the option and nothing else is happening, I'd love to be back," he said. "But right now, I don't want to think about (possible NFL options). It's like a marriage. You wouldn't jump into another marriage the day after the one you're in breaks up. I still belong to this team."

Orleans native Obby Khan said his rookie year in the CFL was nothing like he expected.

"It was weird, fun, exciting," said Khan, expected to be a fixture on the team's offensive line for years to come. "There were ups and downs, but overall I learned a lot."


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