Renaud happy to learn from the master

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

Each week a QMI Agency staffer gets to know a sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week Kirk Penton chats with the CFLís leading punter, Mike Renaud of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

QMI: Youíre one of the longest-serving punters in Winnipeg since Bob Cameron retired. You have only about 211/2 more years to go to tie him. Any thought of giving that a shot?

MIKE RENAUD: Those are pretty big shoes to fill. If I can get half of what he did, I would be pretty happy.

QMI: Your Wikipedia page says youíre a notorious jokester. Did you put that on there yourself?

MR: No. I didnít know I had a Wikipedia page until someone interviewing me told me about it. We had a lot of fun with rookies in college (at Concordia University), so whoever put that up there must have gone to college with me or known me through college. We liked to do a lot of pranks. There were two football houses on my campus. I had one of them, and the other guys had one. So we were going back and forth all the time.

QMI: Any PG-rated pranks that stand out?

MR: We liked to use eggs a lot. We put olive oil in their shampoo. Our trademark was a smiley face on the stove with a bottle of mustard. It got out of hand pretty quickly, so we had to take a step back.

QMI: You played for something called Team Ohio in 2008. Is that a real team?

MR: It was the United National Gridiron League, the UNGL. I was drafted by Team Ohio. I put in my film. It was a league that was up and coming, but they never got funding for it. I remember booking my flight and then getting a call the next morning saying that I should hold off on that. So I lost out on a lot of money. Needless to say, I ended up signing in Calgary and then being traded here. I was looking forward to the opportunity, but it never happened.

QMI: Ever get bored at practice?

MR: Theyíre long. They seem soooo long sometimes, so I try to get through it as best I can through conversation or last year we had some games going on. We actually played golf on the field. Me, Alexis (Serna) and Chris (Cvetkovic) would have a game of golf. If you punted it down the line and it came closest to the line, that was par. There were birdies and bogeys as well, depending on how far you were from the line. But I donít think the regime this year would be too into that. Coach Kelly was pretty laid back.

QMI: Tell us about your family.

MR: My familyís from Ottawa. I was born and raised in Ottawa, and went to university in Montreal. I left Ottawa at 18 years old to go to school, and they supported me throughout the whole thing. They never missed a game in college. It was a two-hour drive. So there was a lot of support from my family. I have a younger brother whoís now 22 this year and my sisterís 28 with two children, so my parents are grandparents. Thatís the biggest joy in their life right now, so Iím kind of getting brushed off to the side a little bit. They try to squeeze me in on the TV tube every now and then, but aside from that the support I saw was mostly in college.

QMI: Whatís one thing a punter has to do to be successful?

MR: Be consistent. Every punter will hit a 50- or 60-yard punt every now and then, but itís the guy who can consistently hit 45-yard punts who is going to keep a job.

QMI: You love to go after the returner. Where did you get your tenacious ways?

MR: I have a short fuse. Itís from my receiver days. I like getting into the grind of things and getting a little dirty on the field. Guys are starting to cue on it and kind of get under my skin when I run down the field like a maniac. Iíve never been only a punter. I always played receiver. I like getting hit, I like making hits, blocking and being a part of the game. I like to contribute in any way that I can aside from just punting. I try to make a tackle every now and then or try to recover a fumble or try to knock the ball loose, and thatís what you see out there.

QMI: You played for a team in Germany called the MŲnchengladbach Mavericks. What was that like?

MR: It was a lot of fun. It was more of a travelling experience and an adventure and exploring Europe. I didnít really go there with the hopes of extending my football career. It was just something that I got paid to do, and it was a lot of fun. I have no regrets. I had the time of my life. And it served me well, because I came back to Canada in November 2008 and signed with Calgary right away.

QMI: Whoís your closest CFL friend not on the Bombers?

MR: I played in college with Burke Dales, so I know him quite well. Whenever Iím in town I like to grab a bite to eat with him. I like Brad Smith, who played in Toronto. We were All-Canadians together and we played in the East -West Bowl, so I got to know him throughout the years.

QMI: Favourite TV show?

MR: Seinfeld. Hands down.

QMI: Whoís the most famous person in your cellphone?

MR: Bob Cameron is the most famous person, and heís my go-to guy. I donít want to wear out my welcome, and I donít want to exhaust that Ö (his cellphone rings) Thatís probably him right now (he checks it). No, itís not. But heís the most famous person. When the weather starts to turn, Iím going to be using his number a lot.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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