Three-month saga over

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

The saga is over.

After three months of holding out, arbitration talk and appeals, Kyries Hebert has finally made it to Winnipeg.

Now the 25-year-old linebacker/safety just wants to play some football for the Blue Bombers.

"I'm very excited to have it done, and I'll have an opportunity to be a part of a very good defence," said Hebert yesterday at a hastily called press conference at the Bomber office.

Hebert spent last week in Grand Forks, N.D., after getting turned away at the Canadian border at Emerson last Monday due to his legal woes, but he actually arrived in Winnipeg via airplane on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

That's because Hebert flew from Grand Forks to the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles on Friday to do a second entry interview, which was set up by Bombers immigration lawyer Ken Zaifman.

That meeting obviously went much better than the one he failed at Emerson last week, and Hebert flew from California to Winnipeg on Saturday night.

"Once he got through the airport in Winnipeg, he had the documentation and the authorization to work," said Bombers GM Brendan Taman. "And that was all based on everything being set up with the consulate in Los Angeles."

Taman said last week that if he couldn't get Hebert across the border, he would likely release him.

Hebert wouldn't have had a problem with that, but he vows that he's ready to give it his all for the Blue and Gold.

"I was like, OK, if I don't get in here, then that means I'll be with an NFL club, which was not a bad situation at all," said Hebert. "I prayed on it, I'm here, and I think this is what was meant for me.

"So I'm going to come here and do the best that I can, contribute as much as I can, and hopefully we can go out and do great things this season."

The immigration problem was the last of many speed bumps on Hebert's road to Winnipeg.

The Louisiana native wasn't claimed in the Ottawa Renegades dispersal draft in April because of the criminal charges filed against him after a domestic dispute with his wife and the fat, five-year contract that he signed with Ottawa in December.

PULLED A FAST ONE

The Bombers, however, pulled a fast one on April 19, plucking Hebert off waivers just five minutes before he was going to sign with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

A shocked Hebert immediately filed a complaint with the CFL Players Association, claiming he should have been a free agent. The CFLPA filed an appeal with the CFL, and the league agreed that the case should go to arbitration.

While waiting for an arbiter to hear the case, and with NFL mini-camps coming and going, Hebert got antsy. He wanted to settle the disagreement out of court.

At first he wanted a solution that concluded with him playing in the NFL and the Bombers getting some sort of compensation, which was an unrealistic demand.

He then decided that he would come north but didn't want the five-year contract hanging around his neck.

The Bombers and Hebert finally agreed on a three-year deal, including an option, that will allow him to try to get to the NFL again in 2008.

"It got to a point where I was just really ready to get it over with," said Hebert.

The Bombers have already paid $65,000 in bonuses to Hebert, and his base salary this season is $75,000, minus approximately $17,000 in game cheques he's missed.

He will earn $150,000 next season and again in 2008 if he doesn't end up in the NFL.


Videos

Photos