The single most damaging pass against the Renegades thus far this season was pulled in by a big one that got away from them when they were fishing last winter.
A heartbreaking 75-yard touchdown reception by Chris Brazzell on the final play of the first half broke open a close game, giving the Blue Bombers a 20-7 lead en route to a 38-17 win over Ottawa on Aug. 19.
That loss helped turn a surprising 5-3 Renegades start into what has become a 5-6 record. And that play has helped them make the decision to replace cornerback Bo Rogers with Crance Clemons tonight when the teams renew acquaintances at Frank Clair Stadium.
'IS HE ANY GOOD?'
Before he left for the NFL in 2004, Clemons was regarded as one of the best cover guys in the CFL. Told by a reporter that he'd likely be seeing a new face tonight, Brazzell admitted he had never heard of Clemons.
"Is he any good?" asked Brazzell, who does have a distinct recollection of Rogers. "The thing I remember about Mr. Rogers that night is he had a whole lot to say."
Brazzell, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound import formerly with B.C., was No. 2 on the Renegades wish list of big-target free agents last Feb. 15, behind only receiver Ed Hervey.
When Hervey reneged on an agreement with Ottawa, it's believed Joe Paopao offered Brazzell the $150,000 he had to spend on such a pressing need. It's also believed that when Brazzell asked if he'd get additional bonus money for reaching specific goals, the Renegades pulled back.
Brazzell wound up signing in Hamilton, publicly slagging Ottawa as a place he did not want to play.
Yesterday, however, he remembered the events differently.
"It's not that I didn't want to come to Ottawa ... it was a complicated situation," said Brazzell, who was like a square peg in a round hole with the Tiger-Cats before they traded him to Winnipeg on Aug. 9 for non-import receiver Kamau Peterson.
"I wanted to stay in B.C., I loved everything about it. But when other teams offer you a lot more money ... (Ottawa) might have offered me more money than Hamilton, and I think they were going to play me in the 'X' position, which is what I wanted to play. But they wanted Ed Hervey and only called me after they didn't get him. I was almost committed to Hamilton when Ottawa called.
"I guess you could say it was a mistake on my part to go somewhere because of money."
Brazzell enters tonight's game as the CFL's 16th leading receiver, with 39 catches for 639 yards and two touchdowns. Containing him will be a must for the Ottawa defence, just as it will be to watch running back Charles Roberts and receiver Milt Stegall.
Roberts is the CFL's leading rusher, with 931 yards. Stegall, a future Hall of Famer, is second in the league with 10 touchdowns.