Renegades, Obie make small talk

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

If you had peered down Bank St. toward the Renegades offices a day after the Grey Cup, through all the garbage on the ground from a world-class party was a rather awkward sight.

It was a cart, coming before the horse.

Before he left the capital for his Toronto home, Bob O'Billovich had a brief, informal meeting with Renegades president Brad Watters and CEO John Lisowski.

The main topic of discussion: The team's still occupied GM job.

"I think it was just to kind of break the ice and get to know each other," said O'Billovich, the B.C. Lions director of player personnel. "I don't think anything really serious is going to happen until they get everything in order with the ownership.

"But I was impressed with those guys, as far as their integrity and commitment with the team's interest and the way they want to see things happen. It was a positive introduction."

Eric Tillman wouldn't see it that way. As of this minute, he hasn't been told the job is no longer his. In fact, depending on who is signing the cheques in 2005, there's still a remote possibility Tillman could be the Renegades GM not only for next season but for years to come.

But if chances were slim to none before, it appears slim just left town with O'Billovich. Especially if Lisowski and Watters have any say in the matter, which they surely will.

The almost certain ownership development will see Bill Smith and Brad and Bill Watters remain from the initial group, as Randy Gillies, Kevin Kimsa and Rick Baker are bought out. Lisowski will also stay on.

Smith will then partner up with Bernie Glieberman, although exactly how much of the team the Detroit millionaire will be offered is unclear. Glieberman would probably buy the whole thing, if it was available. At the same time, he says he'd be good with a minority share as long as he had equal voting rights with his partners.

Either way, you'd think he'd also like a say in who will be the team's GM -- and Glieberman respects Tillman's talents.

The idea of also coaching the team wasn't broached with O'Billovich, and he's quite all right with that.

"Right now, probably being a GM is more appealing to me than coaching, or maybe both," he said.

While no further meetings were scheduled, O'Billovich expects he'll hear from the Renegades again as soon as the top floor of their house is in order.

O'Billovich also appreciates the team still has some clean-up paperwork to do from what he viewed as a tremendous Grey Cup.

"I think the Ottawa Renegades organization should be complimented, as well as all the volunteers," he said. "They did a tremendous job. It was well done ... everything was so well-attended."

TIES TO OTTAWA

O'Billovich enjoyed his visit, as his wife is from this city and his best friends still live here.

"We have strong ties in Ottawa," said the 64-year-old former Rough Rider. "The only disappointing part of the week was that our team lost."

O'Billovich figured the Lions played one of their worst games of the season in the 27-19 loss to the Argos, a team he once coached to a Grey Cup title.

He pointed to a fumble and some subpar punting from Duncan O'Mahoney as reasons for the Lions' loss.

"After we scored that first touchdown (on the game's initial possession) if Duncan would have punted like he was supposed to on the next series, maybe we could have hemmed them in and got some momentum," he said.

Maybe they would have had they made a quarterback change, too. Just about everybody has second-guessed Lions coach Wally Buono, not so much for starting Dave Dickenson but for not at least giving league MVP Casey Printers a chance to move the offence when it stalled.

O'Billovich thought Printers would start.

"I was surprised they did what they did," he said. "I have a lot of respect for Wally and the coaching staff ... but people will be wondering about that one for a long time."


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