'It doesn't bother me'

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Kerry Joseph isn't worrying about being dumped for The Bachelor.

The Renegades quarterback said he's heard the buzz, but isn't thinking about the club's interest in Ottawa native Jesse Palmer, cut Saturday by the NFL's New York Giants.

The Sun reported Sunday the Renegades have had trade talks with the Montreal Alouettes, who own Palmer's CFL rights.

"It doesn't bother me and it's not in the back of my mind," Joseph said after practice yesterday. "I didn't think about it until you guys asked me the question. I don't worry about that. I just worry what Kerry Joseph can do to help this team win some ball games.

"Whether it's them trying to spark something in me ... I can only do my job. I've got to do it to the best of my ability. That's the pressure I put on me. I don't worry about the other stuff."

Renegades president Lonie Glieberman said the fact executive-vice president Forrest Gregg had a couple of conversations with Montreal GM Jim Popp last week about what it would take to get Palmer's rights is not an expression of dissatisfaction with Joseph's performance this season.

"That's an important question because we don't want it to be seen as that. It's not that," said Glieberman. "The fact is Jesse Palmer had a great college career and he's from the city of Ottawa ... it's no slight to Kerry or (backup quarterback) Brad (Banks) because we know what they can do. It's just that for the long-term future, we've got to look at all our options. We've got to explore it. We just can't sit by and ignore the opportunity that Jesse Palmer could deliver.

"Are we happy with who we have? Yeah."

Glieberman said the club wouldn't hurt this year's team to obtain Palmer's rights.

"We have a team that's in the stretch drive for the playoffs and that's crucial," he said. "We want to keep this team intact and not trade our current team for the future."

But Glieberman said he wouldn't be doing his job if the team didn't at least explore the Palmer situation.

"You couldn't bypass it and say you're not interested in a guy who was a great quarterback at the University of Florida, who was a credible quarterback in the NFL for the last five years and who's from this city," he said. "This city has never had a local person playing quarterback for the team.

"But having said all that, it's important to note that's our interest level, but first things first. We're here to win this season and we've got two guys who are capable of bringing this team a championship."

NO DISTRACTION

Coach-GM Joe Paopao said the buzz about Palmer won't be a distraction for Joseph or the rest of the Renegades (5-5), who host the undefeated B.C. Lions (9-0) on Thursday night.

"I didn't know about it until somebody told me (yesterday) about three hours ago," he said. "I had no idea what people were talking about and neither did Kerry.

"I think any time you have good players available, particularly if they're from the home town here, that's always going to stir interest, whether they're a hockey player or a football player. It's always going to stir interest and rightly so.

"Is that going to affect (Joseph's) play? No. Jesse isn't practising. Jesse isn't here. The likelihood is he's going to wind up with another (NFL) team. He's talented enough. He's probably not going to be up here, not this year, probably not for a couple of years ... He's got ability and because he's local, I think it's natural the interest is what it is."


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