To heck with 8 wins, coach deserves deal

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- A key Renegade who is eligible to test the free-agent waters in February is thinking of telling ownership he'll commit to staying in the boat now on one stipulation.

That coach and GM Joe Paopao remains on board, too.

The point here isn't which player it is, by George.

More could/should/would follow his lead. Nor is it to suggest the Renegades' way of doing such things is distorted, although on many other pro teams it is the GM who is actually left to negotiate players' contracts.

No, this is to urge the Gliebermans to do the right and smart thing, without further delay.

During the bye week that is now upon their team, they should rip up a current deal that stretches into 2006 (if Ottawa wins eight games) and draw up a new, long-term contract for Paopao that leaves him no choice but to sign.

They should give Paopao the security and scratch he deserves.

After getting a late start because of previous ownership problems, The Throwin' Samoan has done a remarkable job in assembling and preparing.

Unanimously, he has to be considered the CFL coach of the mid-year.

But it's what he can do for the team's future that makes him so valuable.

To free agents looking for a new place to play, Ottawa has always been considered a desirable location ... if only there was some stability in the organization.

New ownership vows it's in for the long run. Now it needs to make sure there's consistency on the football side.

Paopao offers that consistency, and with his warm, family-man personality, he has the ability to bring in the missing pieces as well as hold on to the keepers.

The Gliebermans were pleasantly surprised to find out what they had in Paopao, a man they really didn't know when they took over the club near the start of training camp. They have also preached the importance of continuity.

Here's their chance to put it in writing. During the Renegades' bye week, they should do whatever they can to buy their current coach and GM for another five years.

Others are sure to follow.

NEWS AND VIEWS: John Kropke, one of the most popular Ottawa Rough Riders of his era (1989-95), is now the D-line coach of Jim Daley's Blue Bombers. While most former players tend to put on a little beef after their career ends, Kropke is down 35 lbs. from his 275 playing weight. "No muscle whatsoever," Kropke, who was always quick to work on his self-deprecating humour, said before last night's game. A Chicago native whose high-pitch was often only heard by dogs, Kropke started dabbling in coaching after he retired from the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1997. "You know us players, it's either coaching or the media," he said of his post-career decision. "With this voice, radio was out of the question." ... The Renegades have admitted to unintentionally announcing the wrong attendance at last week's home game. It was over 21,000, not the 20,607 they put on the board. Last ownership usually erred the other way ... The Toronto Blue Jays are becoming the only team in any sport you'd turn on to watch play defence.

FROM THE PRESSBOX: Signing Steve Martins yesterday was a good move by the Senators. If he plays in Binghamton, he's a hardworking example for the younger guys. If and when he sees time with the NHL club, he's generally a reliable centre who brings down the team size average but boosts its overall speed level ... Timing is everything in the kicking game. If Lawrence Tynes had only broken that bouncer's nose one August earlier, he might still be with the Renegades rather than the Kansas City Chiefs ... The return of DE Tim Cheatwood to Hamilton is good news for the Ticats and bad news for George Hudson, the Renegades centre whose face usually serves as target practice for Cheatwood's spitting.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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