Receiver Weston Dressler bid farewell to Saskatchewan Roughriders fans Friday, but not before taking a parting shot at the new coach who released him.
Dressler and veteran defensive lineman John Chick, both longstanding Roughriders and fan favourites in Regina, were released Thursday by Chris Jones, the team's new head coach and general manager. In a statement, Jones said the players were let go after efforts to restructure their contracts were unsuccessful.
But Dressler, who spent eight seasons with the Riders, took to Twitter to disagree with Jones' contention.
"The negotiations that took place, or lack thereof, led me to believe I was never in the Roughrider plans for the 2016 season and beyond,'' the 30-year-old Dressler said in a statement. "I have come to terms with that and respect their decision.''
Dressler enjoyed a stellar career in Saskatchewan. He was the CFL's top rookie in '08 and cracked the 1,000-yard receiving plateau five times during his eight seasons in Regina. He also helped the Riders capture the 2013 Grey Cup.
"First, I will say that I highly respect Chris Jones as a coach in the CFL and believe he will be highly successful with the Saskatchewan Roughriders,'' Dressler said. "A man in his position has many decisions to make and I have no hard feelings towards him or the organization for their decision to release me.
"With that being said, I am upset and saddened by the fact there wasn't more effort put in by the organization to allow me to remain a Saskatchewan Roughrider.''
The five-foot-eight, 179-pound native of Bismarck, N.D., concluded his statement by thanking Riders fans for supporting him as well as his former teammates and coaches.
"Thank you Riderville for everything you have given back to me as a football player and as a person,'' he said. "Thank you to all the people I have worked with and played with over the past eight years.
"Being a Saskatchewan Roughrider has allowed me to develop many friendships that will last a lifetime. It has truly been an honour to represent the Riders and all of Saskatchewan.''
Dressler leaves the Riders ranked third in all-time receiving yards (7,797) and fifth in receiving TDs (50). He's currently a CFL free agent.