Heartbroken Hebert will file appeal

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Kyries Hebert really, really, really wants to play in the NFL, and he isn't going down without a fight.

The former Ottawa Renegades star will file an appeal with the CFL Players' Association, challenging the fact that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers claimed him off waivers on Wednesday.

Hebert's agent, J.R. Rickert, wouldn't divulge the details of their appeal yesterday, but he said it had to do with a letter they received from the CFLPA prior to last week's dispersal draft of Renegades players.

It's believed the letter informed Renegades players they would become free agents if they weren't picked in the April 12th dispersal draft, when, in fact, they were to be put on CFL waivers for one week.

Hebert wasn't taken in the dispersal draft, apparently because of his hefty contract and an off-season arrest, and most assumed he would become a free agent on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

But Bomber GM Brendan Taman pulled the rug out from under Hebert, other CFL teams and some NFL squads when he plucked the talented linebacker and special teams player -- along with his original Ottawa contract -- at 2:55 p.m.

"To me it's simple," said Taman. "He was (not picked), he didn't clear waivers, we claimed him, he's our property.

"I'm not a lawyer or an appeal guy or whatever, but I have total faith that he's a Blue Bomber."

Hebert was in Cincinnati on Wednesday afternoon, apparently about to sign an NFL contract with the Bengals when he learned the Bombers had claimed him.

He was understandably upset, but the good news for Bomber fans is that it sounds like he will report if his appeal is denied.

"This is not a reflection in any way towards the Winnipeg organization," Rickert said yesterday. "It has to do with him wanting to go to the NFL.

"... If it ends up that he's required to report to Winnipeg, he will have no problem with that."

When contacted by the Sun yesterday afternoon, Hebert refused comment for the second straight day.

Taman isn't worried about the appeal.

"We've done everything by the book," he said. "I understand where they're coming from, but they understand where we're coming from, too.

"It's not antagonistic or confrontational. They just want to protect their rights, and obviously we're going to protect ours.

"He's a Blue Bomber. Period."

Taman understands why Hebert and Rickert might have been confused. At least one CFL team had already offered a new contract to Hebert and several NFL teams were circling before Wednesday's deadline.

"Of course they're gonna think he's free and can do whatever he wants," said Taman.

Taman, in a strategic move, made things muddy, too. When talking to Rickert earlier this week, Taman never actually told him that Hebert had to clear waivers. The GM was content to let all involved assume Hebert would become a free agent.

That's also why Taman waited until the last minute to claim him.

So now Hebert is heartbroken over his dashed NFL dreams, although one has to wonder why he signed a five-year deal with the Renegades earlier this year if he was so determined about making it down south.

Taman was asked yesterday if, out of the goodness of his heart, he'd let Hebert go to the NFL or renegotiate his contract to a shorter term so he wouldn't have to wait four years for his next crack down south.

That's not going to happen.

"It's a business," said Taman. "If he wasn't Kyries Hebert, who could drastically improve our team, then maybe.

"But we have to win games, and he's going to help us win games. And if I let him go because I feel sorry for him, well, where's my priority?"


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