Markus Howell expects to become an Ottawa Renegade sometime tomorrow. The Winnipeg native, who played his first five CFL seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has reached a tentative deal with the Renegades, a team that intends to use him as a receiver.
"If the terms of my contract with Ottawa go through, it's a done deal," Howell said. "It's really not about money because Winnipeg was close, but they are giving me an opportunity."
Howell joined the Bombers out of Texas Southern in 2000 and played receiver for his first four seasons before converting to defensive back in 2004.
He talked to numerous CFL teams since becoming a free agent Feb. 15 about playing either offence or defence but was most intrigued by the Renegades offer.
"I think I need a fresh start," he said. "I think there might have been a stigma placed here that I wasn't a starter. They want me as a receiver and they said there could be a chance of being on defence but only in an emergency situation."
Calls to the Renegades offices were not returned yesterday, so the deal could not be confirmed.
NOTHING SET IN STONE
However, with Ottawa's recent history -- they were all set to announce the signing of free agent receiver Ed Hervey last month when he suddenly chose to return to Edmonton -- Howell knows nothing is set in stone.
But he's hopeful that everything will work out and that he'll get a chance to start in a five-receiver set that includes a pair of Canadians -- himself and Pat Woodcock.
"It will definitely be a little different to be away from Winnipeg, but change is good," said Howell, who had 104 catches for 1,280 yards in five seasons with the Bombers. "It was a tough decision." Meanwhile, free agent linebacker Ryland Wickman, who wants to return to the Bombers, said he expects to hear from Winnipeg GM Brendan Taman tomorrow.