'Gades stung by Hervey

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

An embarrassing contract glitch involving wide receiver Ed Hervey has robbed the Renegades of their first significant free-agent signing of the off-season.

The team issued a triumphant press release in the morning announcing an agreement to make Hervey, a coveted CFL free agent, a member of the Renegades. A few hours later, the deal was dead.

Hervey, who made a verbal agreement with the Renegades through agent Paul Sheehy late Wednesday night, changed his mind yesterday morning and agreed to stay with the Eskimos where he has spent all six seasons of his CFL career.

"Edmonton came in at the 11th hour and contacted him directly and made a pitch for him to stay put with the team he's been with his entire career," said Sheehy, president of the ProStar Sports Agency.

Renegades coach/GM Joe Paopao said the team would not contact the league office for intervention following the bizarre developments.

"I don't see what good it's going to do because Ed has signed, will go to Edmonton and we'll probably just leave it at that."

On Wednesday night, Sheehy reached a verbal agreement with Chris McRobbie, the Renegades' director of player personnel, on a two-year deal with a team option for a third.

The contract would have made Hervey one of the richest players on the Renegades, second only to quarterback Kerry Joseph, paying him $145,000 for the first season, with a $10,000 raise in each subsequent year.

Paopao learned of the agreement at home while eating a cold slice of pizza on Wednesday evening.

But later that night, he was contacted by director of football administration Robin McDougall about an e-mail message issued by Sheehy announcing Hervey's agreement with Ottawa.

Sheehy's e-mail distribution list includes various player personnel directors in the CFL, and reporters covering the league.

'CALL OFF THE DOGS'

"When you agree to terms, you send that out to notify people in the league to call off the dogs," said Sheehy, adding he would have withheld the release had the Renegades made such a request.

Yesterday at noon, Paopao held an informal press conference to speak of how Hervey would boost the offence.

Four hours later, the Eskimos held a press conference announcing that the 31-year-old Hervey was staying put. Sheehy, in another statement issued yesterday afternoon, said Edmonton simply matched Ottawa's offer.

"You have to sit back and realize what it is that you really want," Hervey said during a press conference in Edmonton.

"I spent most of the night thinking, 'What do I want for Ed Hervey?'

"Ed Hervey wanted to be with his extended family. If anyone has any problem with that, sorry about that. This is where I want to be."

Later, Paopao was forced into damage control and answered questions from reporters during a conference call. He said Sheehy was "overzealous" in issuing a release, but also admitted that his team should never have made an announcement until it received Hervey's signed contract.

Renegades president Brad Watters was disappointed with yesterday's happenings.

"When you have that commitment, when you have the agent and the player say, "Send the contract. We're signing it,' you consider that to be a done deal."


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