Voided deal Bucs 'Gade back to CFL

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

The Renegades' defence and special-teams units have received a big boost heading into the CFL's free-agent period: Kyries Hebert is returning to Ottawa, after all.

The 24-year old safety/linebacker signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month that was voided when the team found out it couldn't allocate Hebert to NFL Europe, a rule which is clearly defined in an agreement the league has with the CFL regarding players that have a contract north of the border.

So Hebert, who as an Ottawa rookie in 2004 was third on the team in defensive tackles and tied for second in the league in special-teams tackles, is now preparing for another training camp under Joe Paopao.

"It seems pretty simple ... I didn't understand how something like that could happen," Hebert said last night when asked about Tampa's error. "But now I'm looking forward to coming back to Ottawa. There's some unfinished business there.

"It's kind of like I've been on a roller coaster. I had the mindset of returning to Canada and us getting it together as a team before Tampa signed me. This year is going to be good for me. I'll be coming up with one year of experience and ready to do whatever it takes to make the team better."

Improving the outlook on offence was official word yesterday that another potential all-star -- wide receiver/return specialist Jason Armstead -- has a two-year (plus an option) contract with the team, an agreement that was actually reached weeks ago.

Paopao, who has experienced some "long days" as he approaches his first Feb. 15 deadline with the dual role of coach/GM, will likely see all 18 eligible Renegades become free agents as of midnight tonight.

He says he has offers on the table for four of them -- a good guess might be OT Alexandre Gauthier, DB Anthony Malbrough, S Shawn Gallant and FB Mike Vilimek -- but that it's unlikely anything will get done today.

Negotiations may also resume with some of DT Roger Dunbrack, DE Kai Ellis (who still has NFL hopes), DE Tim Fleiszer, LB Kelly Wiltshire, George McCullough, SB Grayson Shillingford, OL Chris Burns and OL Mike Sutherland after their deals expire tonight.

Paopao did say the team has no interest in bringing back about five or six of the 18 eligible free agents.

Paopao likes what he sees in the upcoming Canadian college draft -- the team has the second- and fifth-overall picks -- and says he has been in contact with many of the names on the negotiation list largely comprised by ex-GM Eric Tillman.

A priority is to re-sign Malbrough, considered one of the better cover halfbacks in the league, but he should also receive plenty of interest from around the league.


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