Rebel sell for Smith

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Along with increasing his shares in an existing Ottawa sports franchise, Bill Smith wiped his hands clean of one that's all but dead yesterday.

An original 30% owner of the Renegades, Smith has increased his holdings to between 44 and 47% of the CFL team. Bill and Brad Watters will retain a 2-5% slice, while Bernie Glieberman assumes 51% controlling share.

Yesterday, the Smith-Watters group finalized a deal to sell the moth-balled Ottawa Rebel of the National Lacrosse League to Calgary businessman Bruce Urban for a reported $2 million. Urban will start up a new team in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, after a Renegades off-season of uncertainty that followed up a disappointing performance on the field, Smith is starting afresh with the controversial Glieberman as his partner.

"I only hope the fans give us a second chance," Smith said.

Stating his determination to succeed in the only business to deny his attempts thus far, Glieberman says he plans to be here for a "very long time" and that he will strive to make the Renegades "fashionable" to support.

NFL LEGEND

At the same time, he has named 71-year-old NFL legend Forrest Gregg as the Renegades executive VP of football operations.

Gregg, who spent 14 years on the Green Bay Packers offensive line, is a two-time NFL coach of the year who was coach of the Toronto Argos (1979) and Shreveport Pirates (1994-95) but has been out of football since.

With the Renegades, the trusted Texan will help Lonie Glieberman "simplify" the organization. To date, cost-cutting has included the elimination of golf carts used at training camp in Kemptville and the removal of private phones out of each dorm room. Also (and ironically, given the conception of Lonie), the Renegades will not pay cheerleaders. Last year, the team gave the Molson Light Dance Team $12,000.

Gregg admits that Joe Paopao and his coaching staff won't "like everything we do," and that "sometimes you don't have as many people around as you'd like" but says all measures will be made to help the team.

"This is a football organization," said Gregg, who is settling into a downtown Ottawa apartment with his wife Barbara. "The team is what's important, not us. Our goal is to help Joe make this team successful. I know we can make it work."

Paopao and Gregg whispered back and forth throughout the press conference. While all could change, yesterday they appeared very much as comfortable with each other as Smith looks like with his new friend Bernie.

"Forrest has a wealth of knowledge," said Bernie. "He'll help Joe when Joe needs it. Nobody in this world ... if they could have a mentor to bounce things off, who wouldn't want that?"

Said Gregg: "I think Joe and I are a pretty good team. I've been in football forever, and I feel like I've had experience in all phases of the game. Joe, on the other hand, is a product of the CFL. From that standpoint, he understands things about the league better than I do, just as I understand things within a football organization better than him.

"As far as the operation of the football team, that's not my bag. That's his. He's the coach. He puts the system in, he hires the coaches ... that's his domain."

EXTRA POINTS: Veteran PK/P Matt Kellett received clearance from a Renegades optometrist and made his debut at training camp yesterday ... DB Bo Rogers was quite chatty while en route to the end zone following an interception at the afternoon practice. Between he and fellow DB Korey Banks, the Renegades will be able to talk smack with any team in any league this season ... Entering the mix at FB is Gilles Lezi, a second-round pick of the Eskimos in 2004. Lezi played 14 games with Edmonton last season ... Ottawa has also added a Moss -- not Randy or Santana but Greg Moss, an import DB ... Lonie Glieberman will be a guest on Off The Record on Friday -- unless the CFL reads this first and intervenes.


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