Seeing is disbelieving

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Matt Kellett is looking to re-boot his career.

But a mysterious eye ailment continues to play havoc with Kellett's vision.

Booed unmercifully by disgruntled B.C. Lions fans, the 32-year-old kicker had his career back on the rails as a member of the Montreal Alouettes until he started experiencing double vision last season.

Kellett missed three games because of the malady, but still finished six points back of Edmonton Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming, who topped all CFL scorers with 180 points in 2004.

"I don't think it was a physical thing out in B.C. I just needed to get out," related Kellett, who was dumped by the Lions and hooked on with Montreal days before the 2003 season opened, and dealt to Ottawa for a couple of draft picks this April.

CHANGE OF SCENERY

"Following Lui (Passaglia) didn't help. Things just didn't go well. When I got to Montreal, it was a change of scenery. I had new friends and coach (Don) Matthews just let me go out and play football. The rest is history."

In an ongoing effort to unravel the mystery, Kellett went from yesterday morning's walkthrough at Frank Clair Stadium to yet another doctor's appointment.

Contact lenses appeared to be the ticket in Ottawa's win over Calgary last week. Kellett converted four of five attempts as the Renegades evened their seasonal log at 2-2-0.

The Ottawa kicker plans on wearing contacts again tonight as the Esks and Renegades do battle at Frank Clair. Rather than being confined to one eye, the double vision has manifested itself in both at different times.

"The nerve isn't firing, so the muscle doesn't contract and doesn't move the eye as quickly as the other one and you end up seeing double," Kellett explained.

"I was completely healed in the off-season but it came back two days after (training camp) medicals here. For the last week I didn't wear glasses during practice.

"This week I have and it's getting better. Last year it was my right and this year it's my left. It's just kind of flip-flopping. No one knows."

No expense has been spared in an effort to come up with a diagnosis.

"I've had every test in the book done and every disease tested for and everything comes back negative," Kellett said. "That way it's good news. But you almost wish they'd come back with something so that you could say, 'This is the cause and take this medication, this will heal it.' "

Despite going 0-for-2 in Ottawa's season opener in Edmonton, Kellett has been good on 11 of 15 attempts this year and counts a 47-yarder versus the Lions as his longest.

Ottawa head coach Joe Paopao knows kicking is a hit or miss proposition most days. That's why Paopao isn't concerned with Kellett's performance at this juncture or a worsening of his the condition.

AN ONGOING THING

"Whether you see two, three or four (goal posts), just kick one of them," Paopao said with a chuckle yesterday. "It's one of those ongoing things.

"He comes out every day and works. He probably over-kicks. That hasn't been a main issue, obviously, for us. I'm sure there's something there.

"But to date, he's been part of our success. He's played a little bit better each week."

Kellett was able to exact a measure of revenge against Montreal by kicking a 32-yarder to send the game into overtime before booting two more treys in extra time, including the game-winner from 14 yards out.

Splitting the uprights with two good lamps is no mean feat. Aiming at the correct set of uprights when you're seeing double complicates matters significantly.

However, that's not Kellett's biggest fear.

"Once everything is lined up, it's hard to kick double," said Kellett, who resorted to wearing a patch on his right eye last season and will do what it takes to stay in the lineup. "The patch cut everything down to one.

"If it gets me on the field, I'm going to get out there. I'm not going to allow somebody else to come in. If somebody comes out and does a good job, you could be on the back burner for a little while."


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