Hebert stuck at crossroads

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Kyries Hebert has finally broken his silence, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won't be thrilled with what he has to say.

The former Ottawa Renegades linebacker, whom the Bombers claimed on waivers a week ago, sounds as determined as ever to get out of his CFL contract.

"There are a lot of things that make me want to be there," Hebert told the Sun from his home in Houston yesterday. "But under the circumstances, it's just not right for me. Throughout this whole thing, I've been misinformed, I've been lied to, things that were in my contract didn't go the way they were supposed to.

"And I have the opportunity of a lifetime, to live out a dream that I've always had. I've never been in a situation where I can just have it at my fingertips the way I have it now. And for it to be taken away from me is very hurtful to me."

Hebert is referring to a contract offer from the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, a deal he was minutes from signing when the Bombers surprised everyone by scooping up his rights.

He thought he had become a free agent the week before, when all CFL teams passed on him in the Ottawa dispersal draft. But the Bombers grabbed him at the 11th hour.

Hebert and his agent are disputing the move, a claim the CFL Players Association has agreed to investigate.

"We are presently reviewing the matter," CFLPA counsel Ed Molstad told the Sun.

The union could take the matter to arbitration, like any other contract dispute between a team and player.

A talented 25-year-old, Hebert says he respects the fact the Bombers have to do what's best for the team. But ...

"At the same time, I'm still a person," he said. "I have feelings, I have dreams, I have aspirations. I would like to think my dreams would mean something.

"I don't dislike their fans or their players. Or the coaches. I like what the organization is doing in the off-season. It's a pretty good situation. Just not for me, not where I'm at in my life."

Hebert's life appears to be at a crossroads, both professionally and personally.

Early this year he was charged with assaulting his wife, which is what initially scared off most CFL teams in the dispersal draft. The charges have since been reduced to misdemeanours through a plea bargain.

"I've taken 100% responsibility for the incident that occurred between my wife and I," Hebert said. "I've been in the church ever since, and I've sought out counseling. I'm a lot better person. Hopefully, through time, I'll build relationships and people will see who I am."

As a player, they already know, at least in the CFL.

Ottawa thought enough of him to sign him to a five-year contract in January, a deal the Bombers took over when they claimed him.

A hard hitter who can run, Hebert would look good beside free agent acquisition Barrin Simpson, especially now that linebacker Sean Woodson has retired.

But the Louisiana native says bigger things are calling him south.

"There's just so much I have on my table right now, as far as my family is concerned, as far as trying to make my marriage work. I mean, everything I need in my life is pointing me towards the NFL right now."

Not to mention, a chance to make better money.

Add it all up, and it sounds like Hebert isn't ready to report to training camp here next month.

"You said it, I didn't," he said.


Videos

Photos