June 11, 2005
Underwood isn't the right fit
By DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun
KEMPTVILLE -- The Dimitrius Underwood experiment appears to be all but over.
The Renegades are expected to cut the former first-round NFLer either this weekend or Monday, given that the best thing coach/GM Joe Paopao has said about the quiet defensive lineman through two weeks of camp is that he's been "okay."
With Underwood -- and even a remote possibility that he could lapse into the dangerous mood swings his bipolar disorder can cause -- being "okay" isn't even close to being good enough.
Paopao said Underwood played the fourth quarter of Thursday's pre-season game in Montreal, and seemed surprised reporters didn't notice a 6-foot-6 giant along the line.
Stats takers at Molson Stadium didn't either, as Underwood was not credited with a single one.
Perhaps the most glaring deficiency in Ottawa's game against the Als was an inability to stop the run. Montreal rushed for 209 yards, not counting the minus-16 hung on QB Ted White, and 70 of it came on four carries by some rookie named Fred Talley -- in the fourth quarter.
Underwood doesn't fit into the Renegades scheme. A natural end, they have reserved one side for sack specialist Ray Jacobs and currently have veteran Keaton Cromartie fending off returnees A.C. Collier, John Turntine and Kai Ellis at the other.
The arrival yesterday of 11-year CFLer Johnny Scott, a noted run stopper, would seem to take care of one tackle spot, while Jerome Haywood has the other. Non-import Ottawa boys Marc Pilon and Cam Legault will also figure largely along the interior.
And so it is that a little more than one decade later, another ex-NFLer with a large reputation has failed to crack the Ottawa roster.
Unlike the case of Dexter Manley, the Gliebermans aren't likely to try to save Underwood from deportation.
NEWS AND VIEWS: Don't believe for a moment that the notion to trade Matt Kellett to a needy team with two first-round picks just popped into the head of Als GM Jim Popp five minutes before the draft began. Nope, Popp knew Ottawa had lost a number of Canadians to free agency and ratio-wise couldn't afford to go with an American kicker -- and that the rookie GM here would have been uncomfortable entering camp with recovering cancer patient Sandro Sciortino as his only experienced option at such an important position. Paopao can't blame Popp for pulling a fast one on him -- but he probably should never trust him again either ... Who would have ever thought we'd see Anna Kournikova perform at the Corel Centre before another visit by either Pavel Bure or Sergei Fedorov? The Legendary Nights Tennis Classic Sept. 24 will also include John McEnroe, who is nowhere near as nice looking ... Working at Golf Town in Kanata is the second best hockey player his parents ever produced: Henric Alfredsson ... Almost as startling as a 27-16 loss to the Renegades is the fact the Alouettes were handed 16 of the game's 24 penalties. Wonder if Don Matthews' power of intimidation is starting to wear off? ... Renegades allowed three sacks and made two of their own, by Pilon and Collier.
CONNECTING DOTS: Worst thing about the (U.S.) national spelling bee championship that was on TSN this week? Getting hooked on the thing, then having to wait until next year for another one. So that's what the other channels are showing during the Stanley Cup finals? ... Another fan-friendly move by the Gliebermans -- $12 to get into Thursday's pre-season game against Montreal ... Swinging a hammer (that will look remarkably like a golf club) in helping to build Roger's House Monday at Kanata Golf and Country Club will once again be a full field of generous sponsors and hackers, as well as an impressive array of celebrities. The list includes, in no particular order: Shaun Van Allen, Todd White, Mike Fisher, Ron Tugnutt, Dan McGillis, Chris Neil, Matt Bradley, Jeff Hunt, Kent Manderville, Pat Kavanagh and Eric Tillman. As a special treat, Brad Fritsch is taking time from an exceptional run on the Canadian Tour (his stepping stone to a career on the PGA Tour) and will set up on an as yet to be determined hole to help out all foursomes. More info is on the Swing For Kids tournament website.