There's small catch with Murphy

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

To Yo Murphy, it's the dirty p-word.

Better to call him an oldtimer, even, than a "possession" receiver.

"I hate that word ... I don't like being labelled," Murphy said during a conference call yesterday. "I just see myself as a football player. It's definitely the label that's been put on me, and I guess it doesn't really matter. I just never say it."

Nevertheless, the 33-year-old Murphy will be the Renegades' go-to-guy in the red zone and on drive-prolonging situations next season, as he has officially balked at retirement to sign a one-year (plus an option) contract to play for Joe Paopao again.

The deal will pay Murphy a base of $95,000, with bonus clauses that could earn him a six-figure salary.

"Whatever they're paying me, they'll definitely be getting their money's worth," said the native of San Pedro, Calif., who now lives in Tampa. "I'm excited about coming back and I'm working hard to make sure of that."

Murphy started his pro career with the B.C. Lions in 1994, then went on to NFL stints in Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Kansas City and a year in the XFL before returning to the CFL midway through the 2002 season.

Last year, Murphy led all Renegades receivers, snaring 61 passes (10th in the CFL) for 1,090 yards and six touchdowns.

After a phone conversation with Paopao earlier this month ensured him the team was headed in the right direction, Murphy, who was 75% sure he was going to call it quits, did an about-face.

This season, he expects to be utilized, um, differently than he was in 2004, when he was Ottawa's most reliable ball catcher and quite often its deep threat as well.

PAOPAO A FACTOR

"I think they'll use me more as the wide-side receiver," he said. "With (Jason) Armstead back and (Pat) Woodcock inside, those guys will probably be going downfield. I'm more likely to be used on intermediate, 10-, 15-yard routes and on second and short situations."

Murphy said the rehiring of Paopao was a large factor in his decision to play another year, as was last season's disappointing 5-13 record.

"It was rough, sitting in the locker room after some of those losses," he said. "It's hard to sit with them from game to game, let alone the rest of your life.

"I think the big thing we need is a lot of self-starters, guys that just don't need to be motivated, that can do it on their own," added the respected leader, when pressed for a remedy that will help turn the tide. "You want to look across the locker room and see people you know will go out and get it done. It's not as much about talent as it is perseverance.

"I would not knock the talent we had ... it was there. I think Coach P. took too much blame. I promise I'm not pointing fingers. It was me, too. One game against Hamilton I went up and (the defender) got the ball from me. I still haven't forgotten about that.

"(The losing) definitely was a combined effort."

The Renegades also announced they have signed former Bishop's star Jean-Francois Roy to a one-year contract. The 27-year-old offensive lineman is a native of Quebec City who impressed Paopao last year at camp.


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