Weekend at Bernie's

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

It tells you a little about the Ottawa Renegades -- or what's left of the franchise -- that three former employees are hot on the trail to uncover the future of the team.

Barre Campbell, Arash Madani and Eric Tillman, who once had their paycheques authorized by the Renegades, are now in the media, writing or broadcasting about the future of pro football in Ottawa.

Campbell and Madani used to be in charge of the Renegades' public relations, which on most days meant spinning the truth more than George W. Bush. Tillman's job was to manage the team, a job he did decently for the first two years given that he had to sculpt the expansion franchise literally out of nothing. Then a bean-counter came in and decided to limit Tillman's powers, subsequently leading to the manager's exit at the end of the season. Tillman found employment as a football analyst for Sportsnet and could have chronicled the daily foibles of his former team, but it would have been construed as sour grapes.

RUMOURS

Tillman's name keeps resurfacing as a possible candidate to return to his Renegades job, assuming there is a team.

Right now, the situation is as chaotic as ever and if you went to Vegas, where the Canadian Football League once had a franchise, you could probably lay down some interesting bets: Even money to fold; 3-1 the league operates the team throughout this season dipping into the accounts of the other eight teams; 6-1 a new owner is found (the odds-on choice Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, who could have had this team a long time ago).

Bernie Glieberman, who once boasted upon his second go-round that he was prepared to spend whatever it took, has suddenly come up with a case of the shorts. No doubt the trusty advisors who told him to boot out his son Lonie, the pint-sized president with the penchant for girly promotions, didn't take into account the emotional impact it would have on dear old dad. So there will be, in the words of commissioner Tom Wright, an "orderly transition" of the team, with the Gliebermans gone in a few weeks. So it is said, so it shall be written.

The league will do an exhaustive inventory of the team -- what's left of it anyway because young Glieberman managed to gut it good, figuring he could sink big money into the football operations and run the rest of the operation on a shoestring. There is no guarantee a buyer will be found. After all, if nobody but Bernie Glieberman and his fanatical football son wanted to come in a year ago with open arms and wads of cash, what are the chances there's a buyer willing to ante up. It's been a recurring sad song -- and not one by Ottawa icon Paul Anka -- that no one is lining up at the ownership wicket to buy the pro football team.

Wright, who always seems to be going through his own version of March Madness, is part of a committee that has been put together to oversee the Ottawa situation. Included on the committee is CFL chairman of the board Tom Robinson (one of the directors of the Saskatchewan Roughriders) and B.C. Lions owner David Braley, who is often portrayed as one of the burrs on Tom Wright's backside. Braley helped to unearth Hamilton Tiger-Cats' saviour Bob Young, who became known as Mr. X to keep the dogs in the media off the scent. Maybe Braley has a Y guy (or is that wise guy?) ready to save the Renegades.

Undoubtedly Arash Madani, Barre Campbell and Eric Tillman will be digging into their past to perhaps find the answer for the future.

Then again, the easiest thing to do is fold the team. It has been done before and it managed to come back. Eight teams will create a balanced schedule and solve a lot of problems. Unfortunately there are some people in Ottawa who truly care about football, even after a rerun of Weekend at Bernie's.


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