Hebert feeling cash crunch during standoff

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Kyries Hebert would have cashed a $25,000 bonus cheque and collected more than $2,000 in training camp pay had he reported to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers three weeks ago.

Instead, he's at home in Texas collecting nothing while appealing his contract status with the CFL club.

The 25-year-old linebacker now wants to settle the situation as quickly as possible, preferably before the case goes to arbitration, because he's starting to feel the financial pinch.

"My agent, right now his family's eating. His income is coming in. Everything that he has to take care of, that's being taken care of," said Hebert earlier this week. "Now, me on the other hand, right now I'm not getting an opportunity to do the things that I need to do to provide for my family.

"The opportunity that I have, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I have on the table, that's being taken away from me right now."

That opportunity is with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, which is where Hebert claimed he would have signed had the Bombers not plucked him off waivers April 19.

In a desperate attempt to keep those NFL hopes alive, Hebert filed an appeal through the CFL Players' Association. An arbitrator has yet to hear the case.

Hebert signed a five-year contract in December with the Ottawa Renegades, who went belly up in early April. Hebert wasn't picked in the dispersal draft, but the Bombers claimed him off waivers just five minutes before he would have become a free agent.

Hebert says he needs to play in the NFL because of family issues that arose after he signed the deal in Ottawa.

The Bombers, meanwhile, believe he's a huge asset and want him to play, although they now worry his heart won't be in it if he does join the club. In addition, they don't want to let him go because they figure there's a chance he won't last in the NFL and will end up back in the CFL with another team.

The Bombers sent a $25,000 bonus cheque to Hebert days after claiming him because it was in his contract, but he hasn't cashed it because of the appeal. He did, however, collect a $40,000 bonus from the Renegades before they folded, and the Bombers have already paid back that money to the CFL.

SETTLEMENT

Hebert wants to reach an out-of-court settlement with the Bombers, saying "nobody wins" if it goes to arbitration.

It's believed Hebert and his agent are proposing a deal where the Bombers would receive cash from the NFL team with which Hebert signs and retain his CFL rights. There are two problems with that: 1) it's hard to picture any NFL team paying tens of thousands of dollars for someone who might only play special teams and has already missed mini-camp season; and 2) nothing would prevent another CFL team from claiming his rights off waivers if the Bombers release him.

Hebert wants the Bombers to forget about the business side of football, listen to his story and let him go out of compassion.

"I spoke to the head coach (Doug Berry) once and I spoke with (GM) Mr. (Brendan) Taman once, and they sounded very sincere," said Hebert. "They sounded like very caring, very good men who really cared about their players and cared about the people that they were working with.

"And if that's the case, and if you care about me as a man -- not as a player -- then you wouldn't want to force someone to do something that they don't want to do and take away things from people that they may never have an opportunity to have again.

"And when you take that away from me, you take that away from my children, you take that away from all those who are part of what I'm trying to accomplish. They would never do that to their own family members."


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