I didn't come here to fail: Jacobs

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

They have a three-game winning streak, first place in the East and a beckoning bye week.

It seems the Renegades also have a coach who's not about to start taking any crap.

"We've got to get this game, we've got to get this game," Joe Paopao emphasized and re-emphasized after a lacklustre practice yesterday. "We need to win this one, before the break. That's why I'm almost anal about things. Don't relax now."

Ray Jacobs found that out the hard way. The veteran defensive end returned to work from a one-week team imposed suspension, insisting his problems had nothing to do with booze or drug related blackmarks that are scattered across his CFL resume.

Paopao adamantly concurred, saying Jacobs was penalized for tardiness. He's satisfied it had nothing to do with substance abuse.

"(He called) to say he was going to be late for practice, and (I said) then don't even bother to come," revealed Paopao. "The bottom line is, we're not going to tolerate guys being late for meetings. They all got the message. Don't get too comfortable around me, I guess.

"We've worked hard to get to where we are," added Paopao, whose team takes a 5-3 record into Winnipeg (2-6) Friday for a game that marks the midway point of its season -- and also Ottawa's last until a Sept. 2 visit to Montreal. "We have to work harder to stay there."

Jacobs, who turns 33 tomorrow, is on his fourth team in seven CFL seasons -- not including 2004, when nobody wanted to take a chance on him. Whether or not he plays this week will be determined today.

CFL sacks leader Anthony Collier has been bothered by headaches the past couple of days -- Paopao said he was sent to the doctor Monday but the problem has persisted -- and that now he is questionable for this week.

Even if Collier doesn't go, the Renegades might bypass Jacobs. One option being considered is to add Gerald Vaughn, who worked with the first team at his old weakside linebacker spot yesterday. Vaughn hasn't played since he was sidelined by a pulled hamstring in Week 2.

Maintaining he didn't "slip" into old habits, Jacobs was "fortunate and happy" to be back on the practice field.

NO BLAST FROM PAST

"I missed practice and it was unexcused," said Jacobs, who also missed a team run down the day after a July 21 game against Edmonton. "(The reason) is being kept in-house. I assure you it had nothing to do with my past history.

"I don't look at it as chances," he added, when asked about being given another one. "I look at it as an opportunity. I didn't come all this way to falter or to fail or to quit. It's just one of those things. Sometimes life throws you curveballs. You pick yourself up and run with it."

Jacobs said Renegades players welcomed him back.

"This team is a very family oriented team," he said. "To tell you the truth it was kind of like I just left, went home, and came back. That's how it was. Nobody's asked me any questions. Everyone's just like, 'hey' we're glad to have you back, how you doing?

"I love my teammates. We joke, we laugh, I gotta start spending more time with them, that's all."

And reward Paopao's faith in him.

"It's not about words, it's about actions," said Jacobs. "Coach Paopao is a good man, I love him to death. Obviously he thinks enough about me. I'm still here."


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