Once a Rider, always a Rider

Lisa Goudy
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Lisa Goudy

It seems appropriate to say goodbye to No. 7 on Feb. 7.

Last Thursday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders released slot back Weston Dressler to allow him to sign with an NFL team. In mid-January, we’d already heard reports of him working out for the Kansas City Chiefs. This year he was to become a free agent, but the Riders released him early so he could pursue his NFL aspirations.

On Tuesday, Dressler officially signed a reserve-futures contract with the Chiefs. A reserve-futures contract means a player is signed for the upcoming season even though the season doesn’t begin until a later date. This year it begins on March 11 and until that date, Dressler is on their reserve-futures list, meaning he is exclusively with that team.

Rider Nation was shocked, disappointed and supportive of the news. After all, he has been one of our outstanding players since he joined the Riders in 2008. We realize he’ll be greatly missed.

While all of this is true, I think it’s important for us to support his prospects, wish him the best and remember that he will always have been a Rider. We need to cherish the things he’s helped our team achieve, but also remember a team consists of more than one player, no matter how talented any one player is.

Dressler, a 28-year-old, has five 1,000-yard receiving seasons with the Riders. He caught 442 passes for 6,531 yards and 43 touchdowns during his six-year career with the Riders. He was the CFL rookie of the year in 2008.

Dressler also helped the Riders win their fourth Grey Cup title in 2013. In this past season, he caught 70 passes for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns.

According to the Kansas City Star, Dressler starred at the University of South Dakota, but because of his height and weight (5’7’’ and 179 pounds) never had a “hard look from the NFL out of college.”

“But thanks to recent rule changes,” the article said, “NFL offenses attack the middle of the field more than ever, putting a premium on sure-handed receivers who can create separation.”

Of course, there is no guarantee he’ll make it in the NFL. We’ve seen other Riders try and return to the CFL in the past, such as Andy Fantuz and John Chick. Were we sad to see them leave to give the NFL a try?

Of course we were, but that doesn’t mean we don’t wish them the best.

I sincerely hope Dressler can make a successful career for himself in the NFL.

I’m not the only one who’d prefer he stay with the Riders, but I understand why he did what he did and for his credit, it was a good decision.

“Ever since the first time I touched a football, that’s something I dreamed about is having the opportunity to play in the NFL on the game’s biggest stage,” Dressler said in a media conference at Mosaic Stadium on Jan. 30.

He’s following his dream. He’s found a chance and he’s taking it. I would do the same thing if I were in his position. So would any of us. Yes, we’re going to miss him, but this is a lot bigger than us.

The Riders will work to the best of their ability to have a solid team for the upcoming season. Besides, you never know what gem of a player we’re going to find next.

The heart of Rider Nation never really leaves a person, I think. Dressler requested to wear the No. 13 jersey with his NFL team in honour of the fans. I wish him the best and thank him for all of his unforgettable contributions to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Riders, NFL, Saskatchewan Roughriders Kansas City Chiefs CFL Kansas City Star University of South Dakota

Geographic location: Mosaic Stadium

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