Hebert out of Winnipeg already?
April 20, 2006
Sportsnet.ca - The Kyries Hebert saga is taking another interesting twist. His New York based agent, JR Rickert, has informed Sportsnet that he has begun legal procedures to have his talented client, who led the Ottawa Renegades in tackles this past season, ruled a free agent. The versatile defender had been awarded to Winnipeg via CFL waivers this past Wednesday in a surprising move that many had labeled a real coup by Blue Bombers GM, Brendan Taman.
The basis of the legal challenge is two fold: One, a letter from CFLPA President Stu Laird to Ottawa players dated April 10th in which he stated "If a player is not selected in the dispersal draft, the player's contract will be terminated and said player will be a free agent." Two, that Hebert was to receive a $25,000 bonus on April 15, which has not been paid.
Hebert, who athletically had been viewed as a probable top five selection in last week's dispersal draft, was not taken due to two issues: an off-season arrest and a five-year six-figure contract negotiated with former Gades President, Lonie Glieberman. The legal situation, initially a felony assault, has been lessened to a pair of misdeamenors, which all but assures Hebert the ability to enter Canada via a work permit.
At least five CFL teams (BC, Calgary, Hamilton, Montreal and, of course, Winnipeg) were prepared to begin a bidding war for the 25-year old, before the league office awarded him to the Bombers via the waiver process. Further complicating the situation, was interest from National Football League member clubs, who were operating under the premise that Hebert was, in fact, a free agent as had been specified in writing. The Louisiana-Lafayette product, who had previous experience in Minnesota and Houston, prior to coming to Ottawa, has been In Cincinnati for several days where he was expected to sign with the Bengals.
"Our issue is not with the Winnipeg Blue Bomber club, their coaches or their fans," said Rickert. "Brendan Taman has been very cordial and professional in our dialogue. But, our position is that Kyries' contract was clearly breached and that others misrepresented the process to my client. It was never in any form, writen or oral, stipulated that players not drafted would be subjected to a waiver process."
In a league memorandum that Sportsnet first reported about last week, the remaining eight member clubs where informed that they would have to reimburse team principal owner, Bernie Glieberman, for any player bonuses previously paid in the 2006 season. Those players with bonuses due on April 15, where to be paid by the selecting clubs.