'Gades to give Underwood a shot

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

The Renegades are in negotiations aimed at landing a former NFL first-rounder with a problematic past.

And the Gliebermans had nothing to do with the idea.

Dimitrius Underwood, a defensive lineman out of Michigan State selected 29th overall in 1999 by the Minnesota Vikings, will be signed and at training camp when it opens this weekend barring any last-minute, Ed Hervey-type flip flops.

Before Bernie Glieberman and son Lonie even became close to taking over majority ownership of the Renegades, the agent for Underwood contacted the team and asked if it would be interested in giving the 6-foot-6, 295-pounder a tryout.

Underwood, who quit the Vikings after one day at camp, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A manic depressive illness that affects more than two million Americans, the condition has led to Underwood's troubles with the law and even thoughts of suicide.

But following initial conversations with his representative, the Renegades have done hours of "homework" determining that Underwood has the disorder under control and hence signing him to be worth the risk.

Underwood, who hasn't played since 2001, was removed from the Dallas Cowboys "unable to perform" list until 2003. He's currently living in Dallas with an uncle, who is a reverend.

"His agent recently called me out of the blue ... up until then (Underwood) hadn't even been thinking of playing football again," said Chris McRobbie, the Renegades' director of player personnel. "We had in-depth conversations with people who had treated him before we even started (contract) talks. We've done a lot of homework ... the illness has been check for quite awhile now. It's kind of like diabetes, if you keep it under control you're not going to have a problem. He needs to take care of himself, and we're going to support him."

McRobbie says contract talks have progressed to the point where "we're hopeful of having him here Friday." The Renegades report to Kemptville for physicals Saturday, and begin two-a-day workouts on Sunday.

"He was drafted as an underclassman ... you've got to be pretty good to come out in the first round as a junior," McRobbie said. "But even with the credentials, he still has to compete for a spot. Nothing will be given to him. If he doesn't make the team, it didn't work out. What does it cost us, a plane ticket? If he makes the team, it's a pretty good move."

CFL TO TRY VIDEO REVIEW: The CFL will test video reviews of disputed calls at a pre-season game next month with an eye towards adopting a full-time replay system for 2006, officials said. Replays from television cameras will be used at a June 11 pre-season game in Halifax between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The system would be similar to one in use for several years by the NFL, in which a coach can request a review, but the team would lose a timeout if the official's call on the field is shown to be correct.


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