Weston Dressler returns to Roughriders
Free-agent receiver spurns Redblacks
Free-agent receiver Weston Dressler has signed a deal to return to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the team announced Thursday.
The coveted slotback also received an offer from the Ottawa Redblacks, but chose to go back to Saskatchewan, which allowed him to become a free agent in January so he could take a shot at the NFL.
The Riders didn't release contract terms, but Sportsnet reported that Dressler got a prorated one-year deal worth $200,000.
The Redblacks' offer was reportedly worth $250,000 annually.
I can't really put it down to one thing other than I didn't want to play against [defensive end] John Chick.- Slotback Weston Dressler, jokingly, on why he returned to Roughriders
"Everything here, it really does mean a lot to me," he added. "Like this is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I'm supposed to do right now."
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."
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.
The Riders announced that Dresser will don his usual No. 7 jersey number after quarterback Seth Doege made the change to No. 9.
Winnipeg hasn't defeated Saskatchewan on the Labour Day weekend in nine years.
"Him having option routes or whatever it may be, he knows how to get open, he knows how to make plays, he's just a special player in that regard," said Bombers defensive back Chris Randle of Dressler.
Dressler said he is still learning the team's playbook and unlearning some of the things he picked up from Kansas City.
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.
Shortly after working out for the Chiefs, Dressler, 29, signed with the NFL club and donned No. 13 in honour of Saskatchewan's rabid fans, affectionately dubbed the 13th Man.
The five-foot-eight, 179-pound native of Bismarck, N.D., has 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 at Regina's Mosaic Stadium. A two-time all-star, Dressler was the CFL's top rookie in 2008.
Dressler appeared in three exhibition games with Kansas City, recording a 19-yard kickoff return.
As an unrestricted free agent, Dressler was free to join anyCFL team and there were reports that as many as five clubs were interested.
With files from The Canadian Press