Jenkins takes aim

Like a Texas Ranger at high noon, John Jenkins came out firing in his first press conference of the...

Like a Texas Ranger at high noon, John Jenkins came out firing in his first press conference of the year, taking dead aim at team consultants John Lisowski and Phil Kershaw. (Ottawa Sun File/Jason Ransom)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

With a high-ranking Renegade likely about to step down, coach John Jenkins came out with his guns blazing yesterday.

Today, the team will hold a press conference, their second in 26 hours, in which Lonie Glieberman is expected to announce he's stepping down as club president.

While Lonie or his father Bernie weren't saying much yesterday, Jenkins had plenty to say.

Like a Texas Ranger at high noon, he came out firing in his first press conference of the year, taking dead aim at team consultants John Lisowski and Phil Kershaw.

Using words like "evil" and "disloyal," the coach defended both Lonie Glieberman and GM Forrest Gregg in an impassioned speech in the team's football building at Frank Clair Stadium. Wearing a red blazer and a multi-coloured tie with a football motif, Jenkins spoke for nearly an hour, but saved his biggest shots for the end.

With Lisowski, the club's former CEO, sitting in the room at the football administration building next to the field at Frank Clair Stadium, Jenkins unloaded both barrels.

"Any type of sick attempt or any type of obvious evil act to discredit any type of staff member or fellow worker ... is inexcusable," said Jenkins.

"It clearly shows a personal agenda over the team focus and the team's goals. This has happened here in Ottawa before, and it has delayed the progress of this Ottawa Renegades organization."

An obviously uncomfortable Lisowski fidgeted in his seat while Jenkins fired away, but later stared defiantly at the coach before quickly leaving the room.

Kershaw, in Toronto on business, said: "We live in a free country and John Jenkins is entitled to say what he wants to say."

The controversy began two weeks ago after Gregg sounded confused at times during an interview with the Team 1200. Several fans called the station to criticize Gregg and the club.

Lisowski and Kershaw met with Bernie Glieberman, who flew to Ottawa from Michigan, later that week to discuss the state of the floundering franchise.

During the meeting, they urged the owner to remove his son as president and Gregg as GM.

At Lisowski's urging, the Renegades contacted the B.C. Lions for permission to speak to Bob O'Billovich. Kershaw then stepped in and suggested a run at Edmonton GM Paul Jones.

Yesterday, Kershaw said there is "no active search" for a new GM.

"There's nothing going on with Paul Jones," he said.

The schism between the administration and football operations of the Renegades is a sad and ongoing saga.

Already, Jenkins and his staff, feeling constantly under attack from the part-time administrators, are referring to the football building as the Alamo.

The consultants reportedly reached an agreement to hold training camp at CFB Petawawa, but staff in the football office are scrambling to scuttle that deal and hold camp at Frank Clair Stadium and Carleton University.

Despite this, Jenkins optimistically spoke of the upcoming season.

"I've been a part of many downtrodden situations and many dismal situations, and most all of these were brought back to life in championship form," he said.

"I'll tell you what, this will take place here in Ottawa."

He also accused the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of tampering in the signings of free agent running back Josh Ranek and Canadian offensive lineman George Hudson.


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