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Dressler staying with Saskatchewan

GRAND FORKS -- Weston Dressler, former University of North Dakota wide receiver and current CFL star, was scheduled to hit the free agency market in February.

Saskatchewan Roughriders coach Greg Marshall is sure glad that's no longer the case.

The Roughriders of the CFL announced Wednesday that they've agreed to a new multi-year deal with Dressler. Details of the contract were not released.

"That's great for this organization," Marshall said. "There certainly would have been lots of interested parties if he was out on the open market."

Dressler, a Bismarck native, is in his fourth season with the Roughriders since signing as a free agent with the team in 2008.

The 26-year old has tallied 199 receptions for 3,258 yards and 16 touchdowns in 46 regular-season games. He's also added 30 kickoff returns for 617 yards and 63 punt returns for 579 yards.

"Really, it just came down to me wanting to be here," Dressler said. "It seemed like the coaching staff and front office wanted me to be here as well. It was too good to pass up. I'm glad we made something work."

Although details of the contract weren't immediately released, Sportsnet's Arash Madani reported Tuesday that the two sides were close to a deal. He said the Riders were offering an average of approximately $120,000 per year, while Dressler's camp was looking for a higher figure.

Dressler said he was also weighing NFL opportunities during the decision-making process.

"That was really one of the biggest issues," Dressler said, "but I looked at the opportunities that I've had here and I've been able to experience so many amazing things. ... I want to continue that."

Dressler, who holds UND's all-time records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, was named the CFL Most Outstanding Rookie in 2008 and a West Division All-Star in 2009. Last season, he finished with a career-high 1,189 yards off 81 receptions and six touchdowns.

Dressler's role is expected to increase this season, which begins this Sunday. Andy Fantuz, one of Saskatchewan's top receivers a year ago, signed an NFL contract in the offseason.

"There are some balls out there that will have to be redistributed," Marshall said. "I'm sure (Dressler) is hoping a share will go his way. We expect that to be the case, but we don't expect him to take on the whole load."

A new contract isn't the only news Dressler is making in Saskatchewan. He also just launched Dressler All-Dressed potato chips that are hitting the town's grocery stores.

"They're pretty delicious in my mind," Dressler said.

Miller is a sports reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.