Ottawa of the West

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

When Greg Bearman first walked into the Winnipeg locker room, the safety may have thought he had taken a wrong turn.

After all, he was greeted by a roomful of former Renegades.

"It's just kind of funny, it's kind of like Ottawa West," said Bearman, himself an ex-Renegade.

"But it's nice to see friendly faces, it makes the transition a lot easier. I was excited to walk through the door and see all of these friendly faces."

Former Ottawa safety Shawn Gallant then interjected: "It's too bad nobody liked ya there (Ottawa)."

And Bearman laughed good-naturedly.

Although Hamilton had claimed Bearman in the Ottawa dispersal draft, the Tiger-Cats cut him and former Ottawa defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall put in a quick word for the special teams demon.

"I was excited to get on the plane," Bearman said. "I just walk into this locker room and everybody's smiling and having a good time.

"It's nice to be here. I'm happy here."

So are a number of other ex-Renegades who have found a new home in Winnipeg.

"There's 15 (ex-Renegades), including coaches," said receiver Darryl Ray. "(Offensive lineman Aaron) Fiacconi was joking around in there; he was like, 'Don't let me rally my boys,' and I was like, 'I've got enough of my own if you want to rally your troops.'

"As far as being comfortable here, this group is great. It's a looser atmosphere, the guys are a lot tighter than they were back in Ottawa. It's a good group to be with."

Their presence even made Kyries Hebert more comfortable when he finally arrived.

On same page

"The guys are great and I'm glad to have them here," he said. "Those guys, we sweated out a lot of games together, so we automatically have relationships and chemistry with one another. So they're good and the Winnipeg guys have accepted me very well and I'm very happy to be here."

Defensive back Anthony Malbrough was actually acquired in a trade with Calgary last season but he played for Ottawa in 2004.

"I feel like we came together in training camp and guys got together on the same page no matter where you were from, whether it was Ottawa, Montreal or Calgary," he said. "Guys came in and got on the same page. But most definitely, knowing a few guys from Ottawa helps the relationships off the field. It's not as much on the field because you pretty much have to try to gel with a guy from anywhere."

On the field, three of Winnipeg's starters on the offensive line once played together in Ottawa -- Obby Khan, Val St. Germain and Mike Abou-Mechrek.

"There's 13 guys out here from the Renegades over the last two years and that's a lot from one team," Khan said. "We all joke around and talk about the old days, so to speak. But it's a new team, Ottawa's done with and we're concentrating on Winnipeg."


Videos

Photos