Cats didn't offer me work

Eric Tillman, the only GM the three-year old Ottawa Renegades have ever had, saw his contract...

Eric Tillman, the only GM the three-year old Ottawa Renegades have ever had, saw his contract expire along with that of coach Joe Paopao on Dec. 31, 2004. (Ottawa Sun file/Tony Caldwell)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Eric Tillman was surprised to read a report that stated he finished second in the running for a job with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

That's because he says he was never in the race.

The Ticats yesterday announced they have hired a new director of player personnel in Craig Smith, who has spent the past four years as the player personnel co-ordinator of the B.C. Lions. A Vancouver scribe wrote Tillman was also in line for the post -- a notion that others also believed and one Tillman vehemently denies.

"There was one phone call from Hamilton, in mid to late season, and they said that based on a move or moves that might be made, they might have an interest in me," Tillman said from his Ottawa home last night. "But we never had a conversation subsequent to that.

"I told them I want to see what happens here, and that if I was to make a move, I'd want to look at other GM jobs. We had one conversation, and it was nothing specific. I was never a candidate for that job."

Tillman, the only GM the three-year old Renegades have ever had, saw his contract expire along with that of coach Joe Paopao on Dec. 31. Neither has been offered a new deal, just as neither has been told there's no chance of that happening. Both would like the opportunity to return to jobs they view as unfinished business, but at this point and in both cases, that appears unlikely.

Still, just about anything would seem possible with a Renegades franchise that is in an absolute mess because of an ownership group unable to reach an agreement on how it will operate. Unless all of its members ultimately decide to get up and out (and really, about now would anyone bet their house against that happening?), there would figure to be two top candidates for the Ottawa GM job. Bob O'Billovich likely has a substantial lead, with former Eskimos coach Tom Higgins a possible second choice.

If there's a third, it might be Tillman. But he would be a distant third.

"I think it's a difficult, complicated situation that, regardless of how it's resolved, all parties want this club to be successful," said Tillman, who will probably have a U.S. mailing address again before too long.

"The common bond in all of this is that we have a vested interest in the success of football in Ottawa."

As for the structure of the franchise, Tillman added: "Everyone understands there will be clarity within the next couple of weeks."

SECONDARY LOSS: As WR/return specialist Jason Armstead was working out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, cornerback Korey Banks was clutching a contract he signed that put him on the active roster of the Washington Redskins. Banks, who the Renegades obtained in a mid-season trade that sent Clinton Wayne to Edmonton, showed off his skills (and his gift of gab) after arriving in Ottawa in September, and the coaching staff was looking forward to having him on the team from the start of camp in 2005. Now, even if he does get cut by the 'Skins, Banks likely won't return to Ottawa until next September, if at all.


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