Renegades' Great Divide

Ottawa Renegades coach/GM Joe Paopao spoke the company line when asked about the firing of Chris...

Ottawa Renegades coach/GM Joe Paopao spoke the company line when asked about the firing of Chris McRobbie from his post as director of player personnel yesterday. (Ottawa Sun File Photo)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The gap between Renegades GM/coach Joe Paopao and the club's management team of president Lonie Glieberman and VP Forrest Gregg just keeps growing larger.

The latest move demonstrating this came yesterday with the firing of Chris McRobbie, a friend of Paopao who had worked with the coach for all but one year since 1998, from his post as director of player personnel.

It was a move that didn't come as a surprise, since Gregg took over McRobbie's duties earlier in the season, and moved to hire John Jenkins as director of U.S. scouting in July.

But the timing was viewed as suspect by many members of the Renegades football operations staff who appreciated McRobbie's contributions to the department.

'MANAGEMENT DECISION'

Paopao spoke the company line when asked about the move yesterday. He stared straight ahead and appeared uncomfortable when providing this answer: "It's a management decision and it's a decision that had to be made, and it is what it is."

But it's clear that Gregg and not Paopao calls the big personnel shots on the football side, dealing with items such as player recruitment and contract negotiations.

"All three of us are active in the decision making," insisted Paopao, referring to Gregg and Glieberman.

The evidence shows otherwise.

The Renegades should take the GM title off Paopao's name, for he clearly doesn't own the final say of personnel decisions, except for those involving on-field issues like who plays and who doesn't.

But given the track record of the current owners -- lest we forget Dexter Manley -- perhaps it's a matter of time before Paopao loses the final say on that too.

"My primary role is really the on-field product, which is our players," said Paopao, who added: "Most of my managing priorities are there, and rightfully so. That's enough on my plate."

It's the Gliebermans' club now -- and they deserve credit for saving the franchise.

But things are much different with the new Renegades. A front-office staff of a meagre eight souls on the administration side fights low morale while attempting to make fly a major pro sports operation.

It makes you wonder if Paopao will accept the option year of his contract if the Renegades win three more and finish with eight victories.

FACING THE LIONS: The Renegades will make two changes for tomorrow's game against the 9-0 B.C. Lions. Import receiver Robert Quiroga makes his first CFL appearance after wideout Frank Cutolo was cut last weekend. Kicker Matt Kellett returns from an injured groin. Rookie Mark Irvin will still do kickoffs. He takes the roster spot of receiver Pat Woodcock, who's out with a groin injury ... Linebacker Syniker Taylor was plucked off the practice roster by Winnipeg.


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