Humbling outcome for Hebert

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

The staring contest is over. And, not surprisingly, it was Kyries Hebert who blinked.

The suspended linebacker appears to be on his way to the Blue Bomber camp, tail between his legs, after finally realizing what we've been saying all along: he didn't have a leg to stand on.

And now we can't help but wonder if he's even good enough to crack the new-and-improved Bomber defence, ranked No. 1 in the CFL two weeks into the season.

By now you probably know the script of this long-running soap opera.

How nobody claimed Hebert in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft in April, mainly because he faced domestic violence charges in the U.S.

How the Sun discovered those charges were reduced to misdemeanours in a plea bargain, and how the Bombers claimed Hebert the next day, just before the 25-year-old would have cleared CFL waivers and become a free agent.

That's when things got really interesting.

Saying he had an NFL offer on the table, Hebert and his agent began to question the validity of Winnipeg's claim, even though the Bombers followed league rules.

Eventually, the Hebert camp decided to go to arbitration, through the CFL players union, to settle the dispute.

As the arbitration date neared, Hebert must have seen the writing on the wall, because he had his agent try to talk the Bombers into renegotiating his contract to a one-year deal, plus an option year, which would allow him to try the NFL after one season.

Yesterday, Hebert's surrender became complete: he took Winnipeg's offer of a two-year deal, plus an option, meaning the best he can do is hope an NFL team still wants him after the 2007 season.

As wrong as he was during all this, you have to wonder where the guy's head will be when he finally arrives.

All along, Hebert claimed the Bombers were keeping him from realizing his dream.

"I've never been in a situation where I can just have it at my fingertips the way I have it now," Hebert told the Sun, Apr. 25. "And for it to be taken away from me is very hurtful to me."

He also said he'd been lied to, but he didn't specify who it was that lied to him.

Hebert will have to prove to Bomber management, to his teammates and to the fans that he's willing and able to set his feelings aside and play the way he can.

This is a young, talented player, a demon on special teams last season, and someone who showed all the signs of becoming a star linebacker.

But million-dollar talent can't overcome a two-bit head. Remember Onterrio Smith?

Even if he does show up in shape, Hebert will be weeks behind the other outside linebackers, Ike Charlton and Donnavan Carter, who just happen to be part of a defence that held Toronto to 72 net yards last Friday.

If I'm Bomber boss Doug Berry, Hebert will be at least three weeks away from even being considered for a roster spot.

That means he'll have missed five game cheques, or more than a quarter of the $75,000 base salary he was to collect this season.

It's a humbling come-down for a guy who had NFL dollar signs in his eyes.

Hebert's agent, J.R. Rickert, says his client's beef was never with the Bombers, but with the CFL.

Fine.

Our beef is with the way he handled it.

Hebert should have honoured his contract and reported to training camp, while appealing his status.

As it is, he's done nothing to help himself.

We're left wondering if he can even help the Bombers.


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