Finally, no hiccups

Offensive lineman has finally signed a contract with the Ottawa Renegades. (File Photo)

Offensive lineman has finally signed a contract with the Ottawa Renegades. (File Photo)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

The strange waiting game is about to end for Sandy Annunziata.

The former Edmonton Eskimo offensive lineman has now signed a free-agent contract with the Ottawa Renegades, meaning his mammoth verbal deal with the club is no longer in jeopardy.

The team still needs to register the contract and get the stamp of approval from the CFL head office, but team officials don't see any hiccups with that final step.

"We are very pleased to have Sandy Annunziata on board with the 2006 Ottawa Renegades (because) Sandy has a long history of team leadership within the CFL," Renegade general manager Forrest Gregg told the Sun yesterday.

VERBAL AGREEMENT

After verbally agreeing to a four-year contract, plus an option for 2010, worth six-figures per season on Feb. 21, Annunziata expected to receive the paperwork to sign the following day to make the deal official.

But it took between 10 days and two weeks before the contract papers arrived - and almost another week for the 36-year-old non-import to sign and return the document.

With most CFL franchises, that wouldn't be a big issue, but during that three-week period turbulence rocked the Renegades.

President Lonie Glieberman stepped down from handling the daily business affairs while rumours swirled suggesting Gregg's role would be reduced and a new football executive -- namely Eric Tillman -- could arrive soon.

Considering the front-office turmoil, many players would have begun to sweat bullets without a signed and delivered contract, but Annunziata didn't seem too concerned.

FRONT-OFFICE CHALLENGES

"They are having some front-office challenges right now as far as personnel and meeting deadlines," he said yesterday morning, just hours before Ottawa officials revealed they had received the signed contract and welcomed him to the club.

"It is just a situation where you have to kind of be patient with the people they have operating the business side of things."

The Renegades are waiting to receive a signed contract from an unidentified player before formally announcing Annunziata's signing with five other players, possibly later this week.

But there's no hiding how happy Gregg is.

"We expect that (Annunziata) will be instrumental in being a role model not only in our offensive line unit but within the entire team," continued Gregg.

A 10-year CFL veteran, Annunziata has won back-to-back Grey Cup championships (Toronto 2004, Edmonton 2005) and will likely carry major responsibility in the trench this year with the departure of veteran linemen George Hudson and Pascal Cheron to Hamilton.

LATE HITS: It appears the B.C. Lions have been able to retain their best offensive lineman, Bobby Singh. The two sides were reportedly $50,000 apart on a new contract, but that number shrank to being a $5,000 difference last weekend. It's a three-year contract, plus an option for 2009, for the 30-year-old non-import.

FINISH LINES: The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been able to convince young Canadian receiver Jason French to return.


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