Paopao shrugs his shoulders

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

Joe Paopao's been around the CFL as a player or coach for 28 seasons now.

The affable Paopao is nonplussed by the off-field woes plaguing the Ottawa Renegades franchise these days.

With a little better than two weeks until training camp, Paopao's preoccupation is fielding the best team possible - regardless of who's signing the paycheques.

Despite all the turmoil in recent weeks, none of the players have expressed any concern over the ownership situation or said they're suffering from cold feet.

"I'm sure they've read the Internet and I'm sure they have questions," admitted Paopao during a league-wide conference call yesterday. "But to date I have not had one."

Going through an ownership change is scarcely novel to Paopao. He was head coach of the B.C. Lions in 1996 when Nelson Skalbania's tenure as owner began to unravel.

"It was an interesting year, but I think we still played football," recalled Paopao.

"The league took us over and then Mr. (David) Braley bought the team in October.

"It's part of life.

"You try to embrace the moment as we would say as coaches and just do football. That other stuff will work itself out."

LAMAR ... AGAIN: The Esks announced the signing of free agent linebacker Jason Lamar.

For Lamar, it's his second tour of duty with the club.

The 26-year-old joined the Esks after being cut by Houston in September 2003, but did not see any game action.

Lamar was then dealt to Hamilton in exchange for the Tiger-Cats' second-round selection in the '04 Canadian college draft.

In 13 games for the Ticats last season the Detroit native registered 59 defensive tackles, five sacks and two interceptions, which he returned for touchdowns.

Released by the Ticats last October, the six-foot, 228-pound Lamar signed with Montreal for the final two regular-season games and recorded seven more defensive tackles.

"Jason has proven he can play in this league and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can bring to our defense," said Esks head coach Danny Maciocia.


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