Pro athletes are often looking over their shoulder to locate and monitor the biggest threat to their job.
For Matt Kellett, doing so may soon be as simple as sitting with his back to the TV.
Then again, it's also quite possible Shaun Suisham won't kick in tonight's nationally televised NFL pre-season game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.
A 24-year-old out of Bowling Green the Renegades selected in the third round of the 2004 Canadian college draft, Suisham appears to be fighting a futile battle to stick with the Steelers, who signed incumbent Jeff Reed to a multi-million dollar, five-year deal in the offseason.
Suisham, who joined the Steelers as a free agent last winter, will be hustled to Ottawa as soon as he's cut and without other NFL options.
"If he's available, yeah, we're going to take a look at him," Renegades GM/coach Joe Paopao said yesterday. "It might be for this year, it might be for the future. We brought Jason Armstead in for one day after he was cut by the Steelers. He said, 'I've got to go home,' and it was like, 'Okay, see you at camp.'
"Anything is possible," Paopao added, when asked if Suisham could become his kicker this season. "He had a great college career. You don't go to an NFL camp without some ability. He has a leg. We'll see."
At the same time, Paopao isn't giving up on Kellett, who has been haunted by medical issues since camp. On again, off again vision problems were off again when Kellett suffered a pull groin in his kicking leg July 19.
He sat out the next two games then returned to the roster last week only to miss his lone field-goal try (a 35-yarder) and re-aggravated the groin, once again making him questionable for Friday's game in Winnipeg.
Kellett has a proven toe when healthy, but this season he has made just 11-of-16 field goals for a 68.7% success rate -- the second worst in the league.
"His injuries ... it's one of those ones where you've just got to be patient," said Paopao, who has rookie Mark Irvin on the practice roster and punter Pat Fleming as an emergency place kicker -- neither of whom has pro experience at the game's most sensitive position.
"We're winning. We've won with Matt, we've won with Mark. Look at (Kellett's) numbers ... they're decent. But we're always looking. We're looking for a middle linebacker. Kai Ellis did a good job, but we're looking. I don't want to airlift guys in here, either. We're still 5-3."
RAY'S DAY: After suspending DE Ray Jacobs for "actions detrimental to the team" and suggesting the former West Division all-star could be finished in Ottawa, Paopao is softening his stance. While saying there are two routes he could still take with Jacobs -- "he stays or he goes" -- Paopao is leaning toward giving the 32-year-old import another chance. "I'll make a decision (today)," said Paopao. "It was a minor infraction, it wasn't a major deal. He pissed me off, and I said, "You're not going to play this week.' There's a good chance he will (be back)." Paopao still refuses to say what Jacobs did to draw his ire. "I didn't tell the other guys," he said, referring to Jacobs' teammates. "Just leave it at that."
QUICK SLANTS: Odds of veteran LB Gerald Vaughn (hamstring) returning to the roster this week are 50-50, Paopao estimated. In the same boat is DB Da'Shann Austin (concussion) ... Also possibly returning will be WR Frank Cutolo (leg), who missed Thursday's game.