'Gades line up a trio of ex-Lions

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET

CAM Legault has himself a three-year contract with the Ottawa Renegades and, not to be overlooked as part of the bottom line, are his long-distance savings. The Ottawa native is in the habit of speaking to his mother before every game.

"I'll be seeing her through the week, so this will be cheaper on the phone bill, for sure," said the 30-year-old defensive lineman, who joined fellow Ottawa native Marc Pilon and veteran Ray Jacobs as free-agent signings, all who last played with the B.C. Lions, on the defensive line yesterday.

Later in the day, the 'Gades obtained offensive lineman Pascal Cheron from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a second-round pick (11th overall) in this year's Canadian college draft and a 2006 draft pick.

The Renegades needed some Canadians for the line after losing Tim Fleizer to the Edmonton Eskimos and showing little interest in re-signing Roger Dunbrack.

The three signings represent the Renegades first successful foray into the free agent market after Wednesday's embarrassing about-face by receiver Ed Hervey, who told the Renegades they had a deal, only to renege and re-sign with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Yesterday's signings represent an overhaul of the Renegades defensive front, which last year was part of the league's worst defence.

The Renegades surrendered the most points, the most yards, gave up the most rushing touchdowns, and were last in sacks last year.

Nowhere to go but up, right?

"We felt we needed to upgrade on the inside. We needed a bigger body presence," said Renegades coach and GM Joe Paopao.

Jacobs, a 32-year-old import, was a West Division all-star in B.C. in 2003, but got into legal trouble last year (according to reports, the RCMP alleged he had cocaine in his car, but no charges were laid).

He was cut by the Lions and didn't play last season. His signing represents a departure for the Renegades who, under former GM Eric Tillman, had steered away from players with character issues.

But after conversations with Jacobs, new Renegades defensive line coach Richard Harris -- who coached Jacobs in B.C. -- and others, Paopao came away content signing Jacobs was not a risk.

"I talked with a lot of people on the West Coast and even Danny Barrett, who had him in Saskatchewan and Calgary. I was pleased with those visits, so we moved forward with that," he said.

Pilon, who turned 29 yesterday, said his former teammate will be a positive addition.

IMPACT PLAYER

"You can't help but improve with big Ray Jacobs," he said. "He had a little bit of a rough time the last couple of years, I guess, but I played with him in Calgary and I played with him in B.C. and the guy's a competitor.

"He is a physical specimen. It doesn't matter how old he is, he is going to be contributing well. He's going to have an impact."

Pilon said he was looking forward to playing for boyhood hero Greg Marshall, the Renegades' new defensive coordinator.

"I even had his (football) card," said Pilon, who attended Marshall's football camp as a kid when he played with the Gloucester Raiders and at St. Pius and St. Pat's high schools. "He was an all-star here on a team that never won. That says something ... He's a proven winner, a Grey Cup winner. You can't lose coming back to a coach like that."

The Renegades were in the running for free-agent receiver Chris Brazzell, but the former Lion signed with the Tiger-Cats last night.

Paopao was in contact with linebacker-safety Kelly Wiltshire, an original Renegade, yesterday morning. "He has some interest out there," said Paopao.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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