Clemons slow to recover

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

KEMPTVILLE -- The Renegades secondary will be without who many believe is its best player when the season begins -- and then some.

A knee injury suffered by cornerback Crance Clemons in the NFL last year has yet to fully heal, leaving the 25-year-old import on the sidelines longer than expected.

"He's weeks away," coach/GM Joe Paopao said of Clemons yesterday. "We've got to be patient. When he's ready to go, long term, he's going to help out. Right now that's not the case."

Even without Clemons, the defensive backfield has looked good throughout training camp, shining particularly in last week's pre-season victory in Montreal. Korey Banks, Bo Lewis, Sean Weston and Greg Moss each intercepted a pass in the 27-16 victory.

"I wanted to come to camp and show I can play and help this team," said Weston, a four-year starter with the Texas A&M Aggies. "(The CFL) is a passing game, the quarterbacks are really good, but there's an opportunity (for DBs) to make plays.

"I felt I played pretty good (last week) but there's always room for improvement."

Veteran non-import Dave Donaldson, who should see some time at cornerback with Clemons out, believes the secondary has improved since last season. And he believes he knows why.

"We've got a bunch of goons up front," said Donaldson, referring to the likes of Johnny Scott (whom he played with in 1997), Ray Jacobs, John Turntine and a list that "goes on and on.

"They're going to make our jobs much easier. We're going to have a great season."

The Renegades added another defensive back yesterday by acquiring Da'Shann Austin from the B.C. Lions in exchange for future considerations. Austin, 27, is a 5-foot-10, 182-lb. product of Northwest Oklahoma State.

Paopao said Austin will be evaluated after the pre-season rematch with the Alouettes tomorrow night at Frank Clair Stadium (7 p.m.).


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