Media pounce all over Glieberman

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

When the Gliebermen, Bernie and the Boy Wonder, returned to take over ownership of CFL football in Ottawa, the predictions were for another media circus.

Who knew it would be the media taking over two of the three rings?

The media conference yesterday to introduce John Jenkins as the new coach of the Glieberman-owned Renegades yesterday turned into a multi-media sideshow.

Not much of the focus was on the tall, striking guy (Jenkins) who looks like a double for wrestler Ric Flair with his blond, flowing hair. He makes an impression, attired in a dark, pin-striped suit and red cowboy boots ("They look like they were made out of some animal that was red and black, some kind of endangered species," he joked).

The media conference was less about Jenkins and his vision for this team than a chance for media guys to hammer club president Lonie Glieberman on his track record for everything from the Mardi Gras promotion to the price of gas.

MCRAE TO RESCUE

Talk about fish in a barrel.

"Everything you touch goes toxic!" sniped a guy from the other paper, unsatisfied with another of Lonie's answers.

After about 15 minutes of watching Lonie get burned at the stake, the Sun's Earl McRae, a colleague known to have matches at the ready, jumped into the fray.

"The bottom line is it's just a bloody football game, Lonie ... it's not the Bush White House here," he admonished some of his young colleagues, turning his gaze on Jenkins.

" I hear you're an Elvis fan. Will you tell me right now you'll leave a ticket for The King before every game?"

Jenkins, a colourful character himself, must be wondering what the hell he got himself into here.

Not that there isn't some justified criticism of the circumstances surrounding Jenkins' emergence as Joe Paopao's successor.

Moving forward, both Jenkins and Forrest Gregg, who's added the general manager's job to his vice-president of football operations portfolio, said they have scouting reports on about 500 players that could play in the CFL.

Huh?

Was there not a single middle linebacker in that bunch?

Not one or two or three players that could have helped this team -- which was just two wins away from a playoff spot -- down the stretch?

"We have got files and files and stacks of personnel papers in there right now of players that are very capable of coming right in here and jumping in with the other talented guys to join that crew," said Jenkins, whose job it was to find players to help Paopao.

Then again, if Paopao got to eight wins, the Gliebermen would be on the hook for his contract next year.

That is one huge conflict of interest, but nobody in the Renegade football ops seems to have a problem with it.

The Glieberman's handling of the transition from Paopao to Jenkins served to do what was thought to be impossible: Make a sympathetic figure out of a coach who had a 23-49 record in his four years here.

FANS SHORTCHANGED

It also maybe shortchanged fans of a chance to see their first playoff game since, well, the 72-year-old Gregg might have still been playing.

"You're going to find with us, we don't necessarily go down the safe path," said Gregg.

Gee. Really?

"All I ask from you is this: Don't prejudge it. Look here, a year from now, if we haven't made a move in the right direction, I won't have to tell you to give us hell because you are going to do it. But we deserved it. On the other hand, if we have a little success, I'd appreciate a little pat on the back."

Fair enough, Forrest.

But here's hoping if things don't go well, your successor hasn't been publicly chosen with a game still left in the season and you still warming the chair.


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