Howell moving on

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Markus Howell visited the Ottawa Renegades' fan website on Sunday night, and all he witnessed was sadness.

"This one dude had a nine-year-old son who was bawling his eyes out," said Howell. "That's what hurts."

Howell, a Winnipeg native and Renegades receiver, can look forward to potentially getting drafted tomorrow when the CFL holds a dispersal draft of his team, which suspended operations on Sunday.

The fans in Ottawa aren't so lucky.

"As bad as it is for us, the players, it's the fans of this league that drives it," Howell said. "If they don't come to the games, the whole league folds. In future endeavours, we gotta start putting the fans first."

But Howell has a life to live, so he's moving on -- hoping to get scooped up by Winnipeg, where he played between 2000 and 2004.

"If Winnipeg decided to pick me, that would be sweet," said Howell. "So go ahead and put it in (GM) Brendan Taman's ear."

If Winnipeg does pick up Howell and he makes the team, that means somebody destined to fill his spot will be out of a job. That's one of several concerns for defensive tackle Doug Brown, who is one of two Bomber representatives on the CFL Players' Association.

Brown told the Sun last week that he wants the CFLPA, which met over the weekend in Las Vegas to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement, to be more involved in the ownership selection process.

"My truest intention was to get a dispersal bonus to those players who are relocated and have their lives put through a degree of upheaval," said Brown.

Now Brown is hoping the league's eight remaining teams will be allowed to add roster spots to help offset the loss of the Renegades. The CFL had already planned to increase active rosters to 42 from 40 this season.

Brown said the union is also concerned about players being passed over in tomorrow's dispersal draft because of expensive contracts.

"One thing the Gliebermans left as a nice parting present was signing some guys to some pretty outlandish deals," he said.

Despite all the negativity, Brown said there is a silver lining to this troubling situation.

"One of the few benefits of contraction is that the calibre of play this year is going to skyrocket, just because you have so much more talent condensed on fewer teams," he said.

"Then again, if I was a player coming out of CIS and hoping to crack a roster, you could say the deck is definitely going to be stacked against you a little more than it would traditionally be."


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