Realty One

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Weston Dressler understands Sept. 4 will be unlike any other CFL game he has ever played.

That's when the veteran slotback makes his first-ever appearance at Mosaic Stadium as an opponent when Winnipeg visits the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The five-foot-seven, 187-pound Dressler spent his first eight seasons with the Riders before being released this off-season and joining the rival Blue Bombers.

"It will be different from any other game, I've accepted that,'' Dressler said last week while in Toronto doing promotional shoots for the upcoming CFL season. "For me, it's going to be controlling those emotions and keeping everything in check so I'm performing to the best of my abilities throughout that game.''

In January, new Saskatchewan coach/GM Chris Jones released Dressler and defensive lineman John Chick in a salary-cap move as the two were scheduled to make $500,000 combined in 2016. But the move hit a nerve with Riders supporters as both were fan favourites and instrumental in the franchise's 2013 Grey Cup win on home soil.

Dressler came to Saskatchewan in 2008 and was the CFL's top rookie that year. Over eight seasons, the 30-year-old native of Bismarck, N.D., recorded 539 catches for 7,792 yards and 50 TDs.

The two-time CFL all-star recorded five 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He's third in all-time receiving yards and fifth overall in receiving touchdowns.

Chick and Dressler weren't unemployed long. Dressler signed a two-year deal reportedly worth $350,000 with Winnipeg while Chick joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Dressler's desire was always to finish his CFL career in Saskatchewan - his fiancee is from Regina. But the CFL salary cap and free agency were always constant reminders of just how difficult that would be to accomplish.

"Being in this league for eight years you see it every year, you know how it works,'' Dressler said. "I've seen guys who're more than capable of playing being released or traded.

"As a player you're always aware of what can happen and ready for what may happen.''

Especially after a club revamps its front office and coaching staff following a 3-15 campaign just two years after a championship.

"When you bring in an entire new staff almost from the top down you always know something different will be going on so you kind of prepare for it,'' Dressler said. "Maybe (I wasn't) fully prepared until it happened but I understood at all times what the possibilities might've been.''

And that included maybe one day donning rival Winnipeg's colours.

"That's so small in the scheme of things compared to not playing,'' Dressler said. "As a player in that situation I just wanted to play football.''

But for the first time since '09, Dressler will go to training camp without Saskatchewan's Darian Durant at quarterback. However, Bombers' starter Drew Willy was Durant's backup (2012-13) and offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice served as the Riders' receivers coach and offensive co-ordinator (2007-09).

"We definitely built that QB-receiver chemistry and got to the point where we pretty much always knew we were seeing the same things,'' Dressler said of Durant. "To be able to use that on the field can help create an advantage and it will be hard to leave that behind.''

Durant, coming off season-ending elbow and Achilles injuries the last two years, admits life without Dressler will be tough.

"This is a guy I started with, our careers started together,'' Durant said. "Throughout the years we always talked that once we reached a certain age then one of us was going to have to go sooner or later.

"I'm just glad he's found another home. He's in a familiar situation with coach LaPo and he's with a familiar quarterback with Drew Willy. I still think (Dressler) has a lot left in the tank, he can continue to produce.''

Dressler is looking forward to a fresh start in Winnipeg, which has missed the CFL playoffs the last four years and hasn't won the Grey Cup since 1990.

"As a player, first and foremost, you want to play for and be part of a team that wants you there and wants you to be a part of what they're doing,'' he said. "Obviously with an entire new staff being brought into Saskatchewan, they have their vision of what they want to do and the types of players they want.

"I'm happy to be in Winnipeg and have the experiences I've had with coach LaPolice. I haven't played with (Willy) for a couple of years and obviously we don't have a ton of in-game experience together but I look forward to working with him and building that.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Further evidence of a very slow period for CFL news these days, so thank god for the NHL play-offs to pull us towards the draft in May and the June training camps. I have to give credit to sports journalists for working to come create these human interest type stories to fill the football news gap.

Anonymous said...

I will miss a healthy #7 adding his shifty moves and great catches. I just can't understand why he accepted 160 in Winnipeg. Yet his agent as the willing to renegotiate at all in SK. He could have signed for 150 with the potential of 20K in bonuses. That Dress would have hit with a healthy Darian. Oh well he's a Bomber now and they think Smith, Dress and their all star Canadian RB is going to get them to the promise land. Or maybe it's the 170K American Kicker that will be scoring all the points behind an iffy Oline. We shall see!

R of R

Anonymous said...

Expect that you missed a $ you've almost repeated one of my earlier posts exactly :-)

Glad to know somebody reads them and agrees :-)

A guy in Lower Canada

Anonymous said...

$350K for 2 years in Winnipeg....Couldn't he have gotten that (maybe even a bit more) in SK??? Methinks pride gone too far!!

Anonymous said...


Remember that both Chick and Dressler left to explore other opportunities earlier in their careers.

They did what was best for them at the time, and the organization did what was best for the organization this time. What best was not having $500k tied up in two import players who are on the wrong side of 30.

A guy in Lower Canada

Anonymous said...

Maybe he wanted out of Regina. As noted above he could have been back for about the same money and chose not to. That points to a guy that wanted out (for reasons we will never know...)

Anonymous said...

He isn't over 6 feet tall. That's why he isn't here anymore.

willie said...

Leave it alone. He was great for us and with his size and age of 30 years old he will start to slow down before we know it. Also he will never show up like he did here with Durant as his Quarterback. Willy will not be near as effective as Durant .Just my own opinion. Keep up the good work Rod. This is probably the best Sports Site in Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that the Bombers are a better football team this year. Really, they'll get more wins if Willy stays healthy as he has the biggest impact on the team.

Bombers replaced Moore/Denmark with Dressler/Smith. Is that an upgrade? Not really. Nick Moore is 6'2" 200 playing slot and you replace him with two 5'7" guys? Hmmm.

Harris is a good RB but thye RB position hasn't been an issue with the Bombers lately. They seem to get production from whoever they dress.

Shologan was relegated to back-up towards the end of the season last year. He's a platoon DT at best.

Their best signing might be Medlock although don't how that will turn into wins.

Again, this is on Willy's shoulders. If he stays healthy, I think they can bein the 8-9 win range.

LaPolice will be an interesting story as he's been with TSN for the last few years. Funny thing is a lot of "fans" are in the thinking that LaPo is a bit of an offensive guru but BC, OTT and SK all said no to him. There's a story there and I wonder if one day it will be shared.

See ya,
Secret Agent

Barbara Streisand said...

Memories ... of the way we were...

Anonymous said...

Please for the love of God do not boo this man when he comes back to Regina. He should and I expect will get a standing ovation upon his return .

Anonymous said...

Good theory, but the fact there are currently at least three receivers on the Riders' roster who are well under 6' proves it to be false.

A guy in Lower Canada

Anonymous said...

I could name nine head coaches that like receivers that are tall fast and can catch ... unfortunately they aren't all made like that.

Anonymous said...

There will be a standing ovation when he returns. He will always be a Rider in my mind and that will never change! Lee in Red Deer

Lyle Pederson said...

A 'catch 22' for both sides. (Whoops ... outdated cliche)

Anonymous said...

The Winnipeg Surfs will still finish in 4th or 5th place even after their free agency spree.

Anonymous said...

Coach Jones wants tall receivers and Dressler and Smith weren't it. There are currently 3 receivers that 5'9" but who knows if any of those will be around at the start of the season. Will be interesting to see if any of the 6'+ receivers have the chemistry with DD or if this change will mean a painful start to the 2016 season. Time will tell! June can't get here soon enough.