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Saturday, August 30, 2014

ALOUETTES 20 REDBLACKS 10

MONTREAL - S.J. Green caught a touchdown pass and Jonathan Crompton was a winner in his first career start at quarterback as the Montreal Alouettes downed the Ottawa Redblacks 20-10 to end a six-game losing streak on Friday night.

James Rodgers scored a touchdown in his first CFL game while Sean Whyte added a field goal and had three punts roll into the end zone for singles for Montreal (2-7), which moved into second place in the feeble East Division.

Wallace Miles had a 27-yard pass-and-run TD in the fourth quarter and Brett Maher had a field goal on Ottawa's opening drive as the Redblacks (1-8) lost a sixth game in a row.

A season low of 19,440 turned out to Percival Molson Stadium for a flag-filled game that until the fourth quarter had few big plays from either offence to cheer.

Crompton, who relieved Alex Brink in the second quarter of a loss last week in Winnipeg, looked comfortable behind centre and led some promising drives, but struggled to get the ball into the end zone.

It was third-stringer Tanner Marsh, who plays in short-yardage situations, that threw the one-yard touchdown pass to Green in the first quarter.

(The Canadian Press)

RAMS 40 GOLDEN BEARS 28

REGINA, Sask. - The University of Regina Rams overcame an early deficit with a big second half, pulling away in the final minutes of the game for a 40-28 preseason victory over the Alberta Golden Bears on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.

Alberta scored the first 11 points of the game and led 25-13 at the break, but the second half was all Rams. They outscored the Golden Bears 28-3 in the final two quarters, collecting four touchdowns while a late field goal by Alberta turned out to be its only points of the half.

Mitch Thompson had a fine debut for the Rams, collecting four receptions and a game-high 134 receiving yards including an 88-yard touchdown catch from Cayman Shutter on the first play of the third quarter. Shutter also connected with Riley Wilson for a 14-yard touchdown less than four minutes later and finished the game 9-for-15 with 171 passing yards.

After the break, it was all Rams. After Shutter's touchdown passes to Thompson and Wilson gave the U of R the lead back, rookie running back Atlee Simon scored for the first time as a Ram with a short run that finished off another long drive with Picton under centre. A late touchdown by Picton essentially put the game out of reach.

Picton ended up 9-for-13 with 139 passing yards, while John Kiesman completed five of his six pass attempts for 35 yards while scrambling twice for 24 yards. Dillon Dawson led the Rams' ground attack with 37 yards on five carries, while Simon rushed five times for 24.

Michael Stefanovic and Zack McEachern led the U of R in tackles, while Stefanovic also registered one of the team's five sacks on the night. Connor Ralph led the Alberta defence with five solo tackles, six assisted tackles, and a pass breakup.

The Rams are at home to open conference play, as they'll host the UBC Thunderbirds at Mosaic Stadium on Friday (7:00 p.m.).

(Courtesy Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics)

PATS PRESEASON TOURNEY RESULTS

Regina, Saskatchewan – The second day of the Extreme Hockey Pre-Season Tournament featured the first double-header of the weekend.  The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders faced off in the afternoon with the Regina Pats and Calgary Hitmen skating in the late contest.

Prince Albert Raiders 1 vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 SO
The first match of the day saw the Raiders’ and Hurricanes’ goaltenders hold the line in a low scoring affair.  Raiders goaltender Nick McBride went the distance, allowing one goal on 38 shots.  In the other net, Zac Robidoux and Stuart Skinner combined to turn away 23 of 24.  Shortly after Skinner stepped between the pipes for the Hurricanes, Matteo Gennaro got loose shorthanded and grabbed the lead for Prince Albert.  That advantage held up until late in the third period.  With Tim Vanstone in the box for roughing, Carter Amson tipped a shot past McBride to tie the game and send the contest to overtime and a shootout.  Jamal Watson was foiled on two breakaways in regulation, but buried his third chance alone with McBride to give Lethbridge the 2-1 victory.

Regina Pats 6 vs. Calgary Hitmen 5
The Pats offence kept up its scoring barrage in the opening period against Calgary as the Blue and White tallied three times with two strikes from Dryden Hunt and a single by Carter Hansen.  After the Pats outscored the opposition 12-1 in the first 80 minutes of the pre-season, Calgary shocked the hosts by posting five goals in the second period.  Three of them came on the powerplay as the Blue and White struggled to stay out of the box.  Greg Chase (2), Jake Bean, Terrell Draude and Elliot Peterson accounted for the scoring.  Down by two heading for home, the Queen City Kids got back on track with the imports Sergey Zborovsky and Maximilian Kammerer scoring ten seconds apart to tie the game early in the third.  The tie stayed on the board until 17 year old forward Adam Berg drove the next and shoveled his own rebound to the back of the Calgary goal to put the Pats ahead for good in the 6-5 win.  Daniel Wapple logged 60 minutes for the Pats, stopping 38 of 43 in the win while Mack Shields and Kyle Dumba split for Calgary.

The Extreme Hockey Pre-Season Tournament continues Saturday with the Calgary Hitmen against the Prince Albert Raiders in the afternoon matchup (3:00 p.m.) and the Regina Pats close out the tournament against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 7:00 p.m. game.  Tickets for both matches are $5 and available at the doors ahead of each game at the Cooperators Centre.

(Courtesy Daniel Fink/Pats PR)

Friday, August 29, 2014

NO CONFIRMATION ON DRESSLER YET

REGINA (CP) - Fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders may want to temper their expectations for slotback Weston Dressler ahead of Sunday's game versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In fact there's still some confusion on whether or not he'll even play.

Signed to a one-year deal by Saskatchewan on Thursday, Dressler is no guarantee to suit up against Winnipeg, although a lot of eyebrows would be raised if he doesn't. Before he does return to the field, however, Dressler faces a learning curve before he's completely comfortable in his new surroundings.

`"We'll see. I have a lot of work to do if I want to play on Sunday,'' said Dressler, who was among the first wave of cuts by the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs earlier this week. "We'll see how (Friday and Saturday) go with practice and how comfortable I can get. If I'm not comfortable, if I'm not going to be able to help the team at all, or if I'm going to hurt the team in any way then I'm not going to do that.''

Rider offensive coordinator George Cortez said after Friday's practice that Dressler has been ahead of schedule with regards to picking up the offense however head coach Corey Chamblin wasn't about to rush the four-time West Division all-star into the starting lineup.

"A lot of people are going to be expecting him to be the same person he was before he left and I think it's going to take a bit of time,'' Chamblin said. "He has to get adjusted to his teammates, he has to get adjusted to the field. There's an adjustment period. Hopefully it's shorter than I think it will be.''

Asked if Dressler can learn the revamped Riders playbook in time for Sunday's game, Chamblin wasn't sure it could be done.

"It's reaching,'' he said. "In the off-season we did some things to update (the playbook). The thing you worry about most, not just the playbook, is what kind of CFL shape he's in. In practice (Thursday), you could see he's a bit winded. I'm not sure if he's ready to play at this point.''

The five-foot-seven, 180-pound Dressler has spent his entire six-year CFL career with the Riders, giving him some familiarity with Saskatchewan's playbook. He has eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in five of those six seasons. His 442 receptions and 6,536 yards ranks third in franchise history.

Dressler and receivers Chris Getzlaf and Taj Smith each surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in the 2013 season. Responsible for those feats was quarterback Darian Durant, who will likely start on Sunday despite an injury to his right (throwing) hand suffered in last week's win over the B.C. Lions.
Durant conceded he and Dressler had some initial growing pains during Thursday's workout as far as finding their chemistry.

"He's used to things happening a lot faster on a smaller field down in the NFL,'' Durant said. "I just told him to be a little more patient with some of his routes and different things like that because the field is much wider and he has a little more time.

"As far as the playbook in concerned, he's picking it back up where he left off and now it's about the timing.''

Dressler said his first day at practice wasn't a smooth transition however after Friday's workout he said he felt "good".  However he still hadn't received word from Chamblin that he'll suit up against Winnipeg this week.

"It was tough. It was different,'' he said of Thursday's workout. "It's going to take a little time to get used to the game again and get used to the playbook. Every time I try to learn a new playbook I basically try to erase my memory from previous things I've learned as far as terminology goes. So now I'm trying to erase my memory again and retrain it.''

The Riders (6-2) have won five straight games and sit tied with the Bombers (6-3) for third place in the West Division standings. Though much of the Riders' recent success can be attributed to the stellar play of their defence, which has allowed just two offensive touchdowns in its past three games.
Saskatchewan's lone touchdown in its 20-16 victory over B.C. last week was scored by reserve offensive lineman Dan Clark on a goal line play-action passing play.

While Durant is confident Dressler will add a big-play potential to the Riders' aerial attack, Chamblin cautioned the offence will not become one-dimensional.

"There's a slight adjustment, a slight bump. One man can't make it or break it,'' Chamblin said. "(Defensive end) John Chick can't do it by himself. He has to have good teammates around him and I think we have a pretty good football team, I think the offence is pretty good and (Dressler) will just add to the experience aspect for us.''

DAYTONA HOMES FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS


TOTALLY RANDOM WEEKEND OBSERVATIONS

1 - THE USUAL: Sometimes I wonder why I even put the forecast for Rider games on this blog a couple days in advance.  They're never accurate.  However the latest one I saw for Labour Day Classix XLVIII on Sunday against Winnipeg calls for a 60% chance of showers and a high of 19 degrees Celsius.  Don't buy it.

As for the odds, Bodog.net hasn't posted them yet.  Perhaps it's too tough of a decision?  How about if we say the Riders are favoured by four points?

2 - DRESSLER:  All is right in the world with Weston Dressler rejoining the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Well, sort of.  I was hoping we'd never see him in a Roughrider uniform again and he'd go on to a long and illustrious NFL career.  However for now that isn't meant to be.  It's eerily similar to Andy Fantuz on Labour Day Weekend of 2011 though isn't it?

I took mild flak on Wednesday for surmising in the morning that it didn't look good for Dressler to be signing with the Riders.  At that time, the Riders hadn't made their offer yet and Weston was sifting through offers from the other teams.  I flip-flopped on it hourly but obviously wanted Weston to come home.  In fact my new Reebok Signature Rider jersey was printed up with #7 on it in his honour.  It was a lucky gamble.

The Riders won't say whether or not Weston will play on Sunday but somebody told me his family is looking for 50 tickets for the game so it's a safe bet he'll be on the field.

The fact he signed only a one-year contract is interesting too, however Rider GM Brendan Taman told us Thursday it's something both sides wanted.

3 - HOW CUTE:  The Calgary Stampeders made a pitch to sign Weston.  That's rich.  However he turned them down and apparently they're now hoping to sign Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon who's been suspended a year for substance abuse violations and habitual rule-breaking.  Perhaps they'll have a better shot with him, and he'll be a better fit.

4 - LABOUR DAY MEMORIES: Bomber fans will start trickling into the Queen City tonight for Sunday's game and will be spending their money here until Monday.  That's great!  Last year not many of them made the trip but hopefully that's not the case this year.  You can't have a rivalry with only one side.  Blue Bomber broadcaster Bob Irving noted on Thursday's SportsCage that Saskatchewan has won nine in a row so it's no wonder the Classic is losing its steam for Bomber fans.  The Riders are 31-16 all-time over Winnipeg on this weekend.

Do you have a favourite L.D.C.?  Mine was my first as Voice of the Riders in 1999 when Curtis Mayfield set a Rider record with two punt return touchdowns in an eventual Rider win over Winnipeg.  It was the last win the team would record that season as they went on to finish 3-15 and end Cal Murphy's coaching career.

5 - FREE WILLY:  Bob Irving noted that Bomber quarterback Drew Willy "went down like he was shot" in Thursday's practice after knocking his throwing hand off a defender's helmet.  However they're reporting that he'll be ready to play in Sunday's LDC XLVIII.

It was also shocking to hear Irving say Drew is planning to be booed by Rider fans on Sunday.  What?  By and large he was hardly known here and for those who were aware of him, they loved and respected him.  I'd be stunned if he got any negative reaction from the Rider Nation.  But the Bombers will as a whole.

6 - HOW MUCH $$$$:  The question I've fielded the most this week - aside from the possible return of Dressler - is how much did Dennis Skulsky's "Guaranteed Win" cost him?  I don't have a marketing degree but I do have a marketing background and realistically I don't think it cost the Lions anything more than the cost of printing the tickets for the few thousand or so extra fans it drew to Sunday's Rider game in Vancouver.  In terms of marketing, he got his money's worth and more by making everyone in B.C. aware of the football game.  Unfortunately only 33,000+ plus showed up which is one of the more poorly-attended games against Saskatchewan in memory.

7 - A FOUR LEAF CLOVIS:  Former Roughrider defensive back Sebastian Clovis is going to be a TV star.  Have you seen the promos for the debut of his new TV show "Tackle My Renos" on HGTV?  There's no mention in the ads that he's a former CFL'er but as soon as I saw his face, it was unmistakeable.  Sebastian leans into the camera, crosses his arms while holding power tools and snarls, "Let's get dirty!"   If you ever see the show, tell me how it is.

8 - A STEEL OF A WIN:  The Regina Pats routed the Moose Jaw Warriors 9-1 Thursday night to kickoff the 2014 preseason.  Rookie phenom Sam Steel and veteran forward Connor Gay each had four points in the affair.  Steel was so far heads-and-tails better than everyone else on the ice it was sickening and he's still only 16.  As one hockey observer said to me while watching the game, "If he was a few inches taller and 30 pounds heavier he'd be in an NHL camp right now".  In two years he will be and it'll be scary to think how good he will be by then.  And to me, he still looks like this generation's Glenn Anderson.

The Pats dressed a much older lineup than Moose Jaw and it was evident by the shotclock; 65-27 Regina.  But who cares?  As Al and Jared Dumba noted, new Pats coach John Paddock needs to see his guys and most fans in attendance don't know the ages of the players.  All they saw was the Pats spank their top rival!  Regina is on the ice again tonight at the Coop at 7:00 pm versus Calgary.

A pet peeve though: where oh where did they ever come up with the idea of calling an age group of hockey players, "'98's, '97's,", etc.?  How confusing can you get?  In my day you'd characterize a team by saying, "They have the best group of 18-year olds in the league" or whatever.  Now, when they talk about that age group they go by their birth year and I have to pull out my calculator.  I get that it's "cool hockey lingo" but it's confusing to fans or anyone outside the team offices.

9 - HURRY UP NHL:  I've had enough MLB, soccer and tennis highlights on Sportscentre and Connected to last a lifetime.  Let's hurry up and get to the NHL training camps and preseason so these shows are more interesting and entertaining.   Also, the news of the NHL expanding to Las Vegas and Seattle in the West Conference is scintillating.  I think the league would be a big hit on both cities.  Las Vegas is starving for live sports.

10 - PARK 'N RIDE:  The Press Box Sports Bar still has 20 tickets remaining for their game day Park 'N Ride package which includes a ticket to the Labour Day Classic, transportation to and from the game as well as a Rod Pedersen burger and Molson product.  It's $100 for Labour Day.  Stop in at 909 Albert St. N. and ask a server for details.

---

HAVE A FUN WEEKEND AND BE SAFE!
RP
@sportscage

PRESEASON: PATS 9 WARRIORS 1

REGINA -- The 2014 preseason for the Regina Pats started off with a bang Thursday night at the Cooperators Arena.  Sam Steel and Connor Gay each netted four points as the Queen City Kids routed the Moose Jaw Warriors 9-1 to open the exhibition schedule.

The Pats led 1-0 after the opening period on a goal by rookie import defenceman Sergei Zborovsky and had a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes as Regina's Erik Gardiner, Steel, Max Kammerer and Austin Wagner also found the net.  Rookie Pats goalie Tyler Fuhr played the opening 30 minutes and stopped all 16 shots he faced.

Steel scored again early in the third frame while veteran Pats forward Braden Christopher also chipped in to up their lead to 7-0.  Moose Jaw's Noah Gregor got the Tribe's only goal, beating 15-year old Pats first round pick Jordan Hollett midway through the third.  Connor Gay and Jacob Elmer scored before game's end to cap the scoring at 9-1 for Regina.

Hollett stopped 10 of 11 Warriors shots over the final 30 minutes.  Regina wound up outshooting Moose Jaw by an astounding 65-27 margin before a nearly soldout crowd.

The Pats are back at it Friday evening at 7 pm when they host the Calgary Hitmen in the Cooperators Arena.

CFL THIS WEEK

OTTAWA AT MONTREAL - FRIDAY - 5:30 PM

A crucial game for both teams, who despite having just one win apiece remain tied for second with Hamilton (1-6) in the East Division. Montreal (1-7) has dropped six consecutive games while Ottawa (1-7) has lost five straight. And a lack of offence has been a big problem for both.

Ottawa is eighth overall in points scored, averaging 15.8 per game, just ahead of Montreal (15.6). The Alouettes have managed a league-low seven TDs but the Redblacks have scored just two more. Ottawa would appear to have a huge edge in experience at quarterback with Henry Burris, in his 17th pro season.

But Burris has completed just 58.3 per cent of his passes with more interceptions (six) than TDs (five). He was also yanked against Calgary, then backup Thomas DeMarco suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Alex Brink and Jonathan Crompton shared quarterback duties in Montreal's 24-16 loss to Winnipeg on Friday night. Brink started and was 5-of-7 for just 14 yards while Crompton finished 18-of-29 passing for 266 yards but had three interceptions. The Als have committed 24 turnovers - tied with Winnipeg for second-most - but Ottawa's defence has the second-fewest takeaways (15) while allowing the most points (28.9 per game) so something has to give.

Pick - Montreal
___________________________________

WINNIPEG AT SASKATCHEWAN - SUNDAY - 2 PM

Saskatchewan boasts the CFL's top rushing attack (143.9 yards per game) while Winnipeg's defence is ranked sixth against the run (113.3 yards). The Riders rushed for over 200 yards in last weekend's 20-16 win over B.C., and establishing the run is important considering the defending Grey Cup champs are ranked second-last in passing (204.1 per game).

Quarterbacks Darian Durant and Tino Sunseri combined for just 190 yards through the air versus the Lions. Durant suffered a hand injury in last weekend's win, Saskatchewan's league-best fifth straight. Winnipeg lives - and dies - by the pass with the CFL's second-ranked aerial game (264.1 yards per game) and boasts the worst ground game (72.9 yards) despite having CFL rushing leader Nic Grigsby (489 yards, 4.2-yard average). Winnipeg faces a challenge protecting quarterback Drew Willy against the CFL's top pass rush (32 sacks, including league leader John Chick with 12).

The Rider offense will receive a boost with the addition of newly-signed receiver Weston Dressler

Pick - Saskatchewan
_____________________________________

TORONTO AT HAMILTON - MONDAY - 11 AM

This game is supposed to mark the long-awaited opening of Tim Hortons Field, although questions remain if or when that will happen. Regardless, this is the first of three important head-to-head matchups.

Despite losing two straight, Toronto (3-6) sits atop the East Division four points ahead of Hamilton. With Dan LeFevour (knee) out, quarterback Zach Collaros (concussion) has come off the six-game injured list and is expected to face his former team. Receiver Chad Owens (leg) likely won't play but running back Steve Slaton (stinger) and safety Matt Black (arm) are expected to suit up while slotback Andre Durie (clavicle) might also return.

Another familiar face would certainly be good news for Ricky Ray, who remains the CFL passing leader despite an abundance of injuries to the team's receiving corps. However, a pressured Ray threw two picks against Edmonton. Getting to Ray is a key to success against Toronto, something Hamilton hasn't done consistently (CFL-low 14 sacks).

Pick - Toronto
_______________________________________

EDMONTON AT CALGARY - MONDAY - 3:30 PM

The Battle of Alberta will also be for top spot in the CFL's standings.

The Calgary Stampeders host the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday to kick off their annual Labour Day home-and-home series. The two teams meet again Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium with much more on the line than just bragging rights.

Calgary and Edmonton are tied atop the West Division with league-best 7-1 records. The Eskimos' lone loss was 26-22 to the Stampeders on July 24.

There's not much separating Calgary and Edmonton. They boast the CFL's top-scoring offences (Calgary first at 27.9 points per game, Edmonton next at 26.8) and their defences are 1-2 in fewest points allowed (15.1 for Calgary, 17.8 for Edmonton).

The Eskimos lead the CFL in interceptions (14) while the Stampeders are tied with Saskatchewan for second with nine. Edmonton's defence is second overall in sacks (29) while Calgary stands fourth (25).

A big difference between the two is ball security as Edmonton has 20 turnovers, twice as many as Calgary. But the Eskimos' defence has registered 24 takeaways - tied with Saskatchewan for tops - compared to 21 for the Stampeders.

Calgary's offence was bolstered last week by the return of running back Jon Cornish. The CFL's outstanding player in 2013 had missed much of the season with concussion symptoms but rushed for 74 yards on 16 carries in a 32-7 victory over Ottawa. And now, receiver Maurice Price (hand) is poised to come back.

Edmonton also lost starter Mike Reilly (hand) against Toronto but he's expected to play against Calgary. Backup Matt Nichols was 15-of-28 passing for 178 yards and a TD versus the Argos but also threw two interceptions.

Once again, Edmonton's defence shone. Odell Willis had two of the unit's five sacks and an interception that set up the first of linebacker Dexter McCoil's two TDs on a lateral.

Calgary is 16-5 versus Edmonton since 2008, having won the last nine head-to-head matchups.

Pick - Calgary

Last week - 4-0

Overall - 21-12

(Canadian Press)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

RIDERS WELCOME BACK DRESSLER

REGINA (CP) - The Saskatchewan Roughriders had one thing to offer Weston Dressler that no other CFL team could match.

History.

Dressler re-signed with the only CFL club he has played for Thursday after passing his physical. He was back in his usual No. 7 jersey for practice after quarterback Seth Doege made the change to No. 9.

"I'll tell you right now, I couldn't be more excited to be where I'm at, right now today. That's what I'm focused on now is here, help this team win some football games and with the ultimate goal of winning the Grey Cup,'' Dressler said in Regina.

Dressler was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday and cleared NFL waivers the following day, making him an unrestricted CFL free agent.

The Ottawa Redblacks also made a formal contract offer to Dressler and the Calgary Stampeders were reportedly in the mix for his services. Dressler thanked the other teams for their interest in him.

But in the end, he said there was "too much history'' to walk away from Saskatchewan.

"I can't really put it down to one thing other than I didn't want to play against (defensive end) John Chick,'' joked Dressler.

"No, I mean there's just a lot here. There's a lot I've gone through with this organization, with a lot of guys on this team, coaches and players, front office ... the fans. Everything here, it really does mean a lot to me.''

The Riders released the 29-year-old Dressler in January - roughly two weeks before he was scheduled to become a CFL free agent - so he could explore his options south of the border. Shortly after working out for the Chiefs, Dressler signed with the NFL club and donned No. 13 in honour of Saskatchewan's rabid football fans, affectionately dubbed the 13th Man.

Dressler appeared in three exhibition games with Kansas City, recording a 19-yard kickoff return.

The five-foot-eight, 179-pound native of Bismarck, N.D., had spent his entire six-year CFL career with Saskatchewan, registering 442 catches for 6,531 yards and 43 TDs. He surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving plateau five times, including the last four years.

Dressler had five catches for a game-high 81 yards and a TD in Saskatchewan's 45-23 Grey Cup victory over Hamilton last November. He was a two-time all-star and the CFL's top rookie in 2008.

Roughriders general manager Brendan Taman said he spoke with Dressler a few times before the slotback re-signed with Saskatchewan.

"He really wanted to be here obviously, so it made my job a little bit easier that's for sure. You know, there were some nervous times for a while, but he's a pretty loyal individual that's for sure,'' said Taman.

Fans and businesses in Saskatchewan also tried to lure Dressler back with offers of free sandwiches, cupcakes and car washes. A Twitter effort was launched called #BringWestonHome.

"Really, I'm always amazed with the support from this fan base, so to see something like that, it did surprise me. But at the same time, it doesn't surprise me because they show support in numerous ways and that was just one of their ways of doing it for me at the time,'' he said.

Dressler joked that he "probably won't be the healthiest man'' if he takes advantage of all the offers, but said he would share with his teammates.

Riders quarterback Darian Durant had spoken to Dressler after the slotback was released by the Chiefs. Durant said it was great to have Dressler back on the field Thursday.

"He has that chemistry with me that goes back years and years and I think we're on the same page with everything. We see everything the same way, so I think he's going to bring that big play ability back to the system and it's going good to have him back,'' said Durant.

"I'm just happy to have him back and hopefully we can finish our careers together,'' added the pivot.

MADANI: TERMS OF THE DRESSLER DEAL


By: Arash Madani

One of the decade's most sought-after CFL free agents is remaining in Regina, Sportsnet has learned.

Receiver Weston Dressler, whose services became a sweepstakes-style bidding war league-wide after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs, turned down a higher offer from Ottawa and is returning to Saskatchewan.

The one-year, pro-rated deal is worth approximately $200,000, including a small signing bonus.

The 29-year-old had previously played six seasons with the Roughriders, including the 2013 Grey Cup title run. Because Dressler knows coordinator George Cortez's offence, and has terrific chemistry with quarterback Darian Durant, it's believed he will play in Sunday afternoon's Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg.

Dressler made the decision early Thursday morning, weighing not only the richer opportunity from the expansion RedBlacks, but as Sportsnet first reported Wednesday evening, a sizeable offer from the Stampeders. According to sources, Calgary quietly entered the fray after Dressler became a free agent.

Ottawa had the most money and the longest term to offer Dressler, while Saskatchewan presented a one-year contract to the five-time, 1,000-yard receiver. Because the option-year clause was removed from the latest collective bargaining agreement between the players association and the league, the Riders deal still gives Dressler flexibility to explore the open market this winter, giving him another chance to cash in. It is believed the Roughriders will want to begin talks on an extension sometime this fall to avoid the two-time league all-star getting to free agency.

The Riders offence has been stagnant this season, and the organization's hope is that adding Dressler can ignite Durant and the passing game.

Dressler signed with the Chiefs last winter, and had made a favourable impression with the NFL club during OTA's and mini-camps. But he did not survive the first round of cuts this week when rosters had to be pared to 75 players.

CKRM'S WEEK 10 CFL PICKS 2014

SCHEDULE
Friday: Ottawa at Montreal
Sunday: Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
Monday: Toronto at Hamilton,
              Edmonton at Calgary

ANNCR/RECORD/PICKS:
SCRUFFY (28-9): OTT - SK - TOR - CGY
LUC (27-10): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
ABOU (26-11): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
SHARKY (26-11): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
BALLSY (25-12): MTL - SK - HAM - EDM
S. FOX (25-12): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
CARM (25-12): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
SAM (24-13): MTL - SK - HAM - EDM
SCHULTZ (24-13): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
RP (24-13): MTL - SK - HAM - CGY
PHIL (23-14): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
LYNCH (21-16): MTL - SK - TOR - CGY
COIN (21-16): OTT - WPG - TOR - EDM

*Winner gets $100 gift certificate to Press Box Sports Bar!