If David Azzi had skipped the Renegades' team photo yesterday, few would have second-guessed the move.
But the second-year receiver and home-town product did in fact show up to pose with his teammates at Frank Clair Stadium before heading straight to the doctor's office to see team chief physician Mark Aubry.
After returning home from Saturday's game against Montreal, he began experiencing pain in his kidney and also noticed blood in his urine.
A trip to the Montfort Hospital resulted in an overnight night stay with a diagnosed bruised left kidney.
"I got hit from behind on a kickoff," said Azzi. "I thought I had just got the wind knocked out of me, so I finished the game."
He returned home Sunday morning, but experienced more pain later in the evening and through the night.
Azzi, the third-overall pick of the 2004 CFL Canadian draft, felt obligated to show up for the photo, but was in obvious pain when he emerged from the locker room to line up for the shoot.
"I spent (Sunday) night at home, but the pain came back worse," he said.
Azzi, who has missed most of training camp and the season due to a string of injuries, will miss Saturday's finale against the Toronto Argonauts.
ON YOUR MARK: No matter what happens in the future for kicker Mark Irvin, at least he'll have something to show his grandkids after taking part in yesterday's team photo. The Mount Allison graduate and Orleans resident lined up with his fellow Renegades for the shoot, after spending the last several weeks on the practice roster. "It's something that I can put up on my wall," said Irvin, who took over placekicking and field-goal duties earlier in the season when Matt Kellett was injured. Irvin earned $500 each week as a member of the team's practice squad, but is now searching for a business administration job in human resources or recruiting. "I've enjoyed the time I had out on the field this year," he said. "I think I can play at this level, and I did what was asked of me. I'm happy about that."
TAKING IT TOUGH: One of the players most disturbed by the team's failure to qualify for the playoffs was OL Val St. Germain. The Ottawa native and fourth-year Renegade sat alone at his locker for several minutes following last Saturday's 43-23 loss to Montreal that put his team out of post-season contention -- again. "You just think about how much effort into what you do as a pro athlete, both before and after the season," said the 12-year CFL veteran. "To be denied a chance to go play for a championship is always hard, especially when you're getting older. This is 12 years for me, and I've only had one chance at a Grey Cup." In 1998, Calgary beat St. Germain's Ticats on a last-minute field goal in the Grey Cup. "You just think that you don't have too many seasons left, and you'd like to have the opportunity at some time and go for it." St. Germain, 33, is under contract with the Renegades for next season, and is also signed for a club option in 2007.
GRID BITS: Renegades coach Joe Paopao, preparing for his final game at the helm of the team, said yesterday back-up QB Brad Banks would see action in half of Saturday's finale against Toronto. Starter Kerry Joseph has a chance to earn a $10,000 bonus if he gains 1,000 rushing yards this season, to which he's 58 short ... Making an interesting appearance at yesterday's photo shoot: Former Renegades CEO John Lisowski, now a special advisor to Lonie Glieberman ... RB Josh Ranek, eligible for free agency at the end of the season, on his future with the Renegades under incoming coach John Jenkins and his run-and-shoot offence: "At this time, I'm going to focus on the last game, and then I'll start thinking about that."