August 31, 2015


If Cameron's kid impresses, Renaud will get the boot

Now that Brett Cameron has signed with the local football team his dad played 23 years for, I would not want to be the other punter attending training camp, incumbent or otherwise.

Actually, I would never want to go into training camp as a punter, under any conditions, but that is not the point of this diatribe.

Members of the Blue Bombers marketing  department are probably licking their chops at the prospect of  prospect Brett Cameron following in the footsteps of his legendary pop.

Members of the Blue Bombers marketing department are probably licking their chops at the prospect of prospect Brett Cameron following in the footsteps of his legendary pop.

The point is, even though Mike Renaud has been a three-year starter with the club, and a divisional all-star for one of those years, I would put him at a marked disadvantage once training camp starts for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is Brett Cameron is a legacy pledge to a fraternity of punter icons. His father is not only the greatest punter to ever play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but in CFL history, and that has its advantages.

There is no scenario, no wind condition, no set of circumstances Bob didn't successfully navigate in his two decades of service, and that knowledge is a tremendous resource for his son to tap into.

Furthermore, having the son of the greatest punter of all time on the roster is a huge potential windfall for the football team, both from a marketing and public relations standpoint. I'm not sure to what extent, if any, the business side of the football club has influence over the operations side, but they have to be crossing their fingers for this kid to make the team.

I would bet dollars to donuts brand manager Jeffrey Bannon started drooling about the father-son cross-promotional possibilities once the signing was announced. First the Muamba brothers landed on his doorstep and now he has the son of a punter icon, playing the same position and wearing the same number as Dad, at his disposal.

I can see the 2013 slogan for the Winnipeg Football Club taking shape right now: "Blood is thicker than water."

Cameron jerseys now have twice as much significance as they used to, and the Father's Day specials at the Bomber store should be something to behold.

To boot, Brett will also have the home-court advantage and goodwill from the fans as a local product who grew up around the team and made good, which should cover for any transitional growing pains he may have.

Less obvious or talked about, but just as advantageous though, is the fact Brett's dad is as high up on the Bomber food chain as it gets. While I would never suggest Bob Cameron would even contemplate trying to influence a coach or general manager into keeping his son on the team unless he fully earned it, you cannot ignore the fact Brett is essentially the son of one of the bosses of the team.

As a player, your tenure is presided over by the coach and general manager (Tim Burke and Joe Mack), who are governed by the CEO (Garth Buchko), who reports to the board of directors, where Bob Cameron sits among others.

While the board is not around the team on a daily basis, it is not unheard of for a member of this group to request an audience with a coach or manager for clarity on any number of issues.

We are all hard-wired with instincts of self-preservation and no matter how many public assurances are made, it certainly never hurts your employment futures to keep your boss's boss happy.

On or off of the field, I never spent much time watching the specialists of the special teams battle it out for roster spots but things just got more interesting in a hurry.

If all things are equal on the field of play between Brett Cameron and Mike Renaud, there is no chance Renaud retains his job as a punter for this football team.

He doesn't just have to fend off another annoying rookie who is younger and exponentially cheaper when camp opens in June. He has to beat out Bob Cameron's son, and everything that comes with it, and that is saying something.


Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays and game days in the Free Press.

Twitter: @DougBrown97

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2013 D4

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