Buc starts here for 'Gade Hebert

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

The Renegades have lost perhaps their most talented young starter to the NFL. Kyries Hebert, who played both linebacker and safety and was a standout on kick and punt return coverage as a rookie in 2004, has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 24-year old native of Eunice, La., finished the season tied for second in the CFL with 27 special-teams tackles, one behind league leader Ray Mariuz of the Toronto Argonauts.

Hebert was also third on the Renegades in defensive tackles with 56, behind only established veterans Kelly Wiltshire (76) and Gerald Vaughn (62).

It's no surprise that he was snapped up by a NFL team. At 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., Hebert has the size, speed and skills to play down south. He also has the appeal of youth on his side.

Hebert attended the Minnesota Vikings' camp in 2002 and the Houston Texans' camp in 2003. The guessing is this third kick at the can will be a successful one -- as well as being a setback for the Renegades.

HERE'S THE BEEF: Welcome to the worst weekend of your life. And get used to it. Not in at least the 50-plus years of Hockey Night in Canada's existence have we gone a whole weekend without major-league sports on TV, thanks to the overlapping seasons of baseball, hockey and football. Even the 1994 NHL lockout ended while the NFL playoffs were on. Yet for the next two days, while you're away from the office and supposed to be practising lazy, there is, with all due respect to NBA fans, no big-league action on the tube. Praise be to the PGA. Yes, welcome to the worst weekend of your life, and what it will be like for two months after next Sunday's Super Bowl. Should be a very long and cold winter.

NEWS AND VIEWS: The Nepean Raiders are once again the class of the CJHL, and at least part of their success can be traced to the fact they have three of the top four scoring defencemen in the league with Jared Ross, Chris Gray and Shawn Fensel. Ross, a 20-year old from Clark's Harbour, N.S, tied Adrian Aucoin's all-time Raiders franchise record for most goals in a season by a blueliner last Sunday when he picked up his 17th -- and heading into last night the Raiders still had 13 games left. "It was one of my individual goals at the beginning of the season," Ross, who possesses a booming slap shot, said of the record. "Obviously, it's good to be in that company. But the main focus now is on winning a national championship." .... Renegades coach/GM Joe Paopao is expected to formally announce his assistants, including new defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall, on Monday ... The verbal agreement the Renegades had with cornerback Crance Clemons is now a signed and delivered contract ... NHL players have it rough all right, but did any of them awake on a cold, late January morning to a reassessment letter from the government that says they owe $938.74? Now that hurts ... You know you miss hockey when you bother to discover, with the help of www.hockeydb.com., that former 67's blue-line partners Jeff Ricciardi and Chris Snell played together again in 2001-02, a decade after their junior days, for the Frankfurt Lions in Germany. And that two of their teammates were Iain Fraser and Rob Pearson, who were on the hated Oshawa Generals back in the day.

WORTH REPEATING: "If I'm short on a putt, you can call me Alice."

-- Legendary rocker and golf fanatic Alice Cooper, introducing himself to the Sun's Chris Stevenson in an exceptional, if-you-missed-it-I-think-we-sell-back-copies exclusive at the PGA Merchandise Show this week.

BRENNAN'S BEST BETS (Alternative viewing on a Monday night without football):

1. The Tournament -- Hilarious CBC spoof on minor-hockey kids and their parents in which the former acts more mature than the latter. It's difficult to tell which are the adults. Follow the escapades of the Farqueson Funeral Home Warriors, from Briarside, Que.; Barry McConnell as he's "makin' sure" his boy gets to the big leagues; and an entertaining cast of characters that also includes "uncle" Phil Esposito. Bad news is that this six-part series ends Feb. 11. Somebody should start a petition.

2. 24 -- An excellent Fox production starring Kiefer Sutherland, not the box of refreshments you share with your pals during MNF.

3. Medium -- Some say it's well done.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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