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Former UND star Weston Dressler finding his groove in Winnipeg

Weston Dressler (7) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the game at New Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK, Saturday, July 1st, 2017. (Photo: Johany Jutras)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Weston Dressler wore green and white for a long time.

The former University of North Dakota wide receiver donned it in Grand Forks for four years, then for eight seasons with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The colors have changed—Dressler now wears blue and gold of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The uniform is different, but the talent and production is still the same for the 31-year-old Bismarck native enjoying his second season in Winnipeg.

"Last offseason, when (being released by Saskatchewan) went down, it was a tough situation," Dressler said. "Once I got to WInnipeg, it took time to get comfortable with my new surroundings. I've grown to love the place.

"I just really appreciate the way they do things around here from a professional standpoint. They take care of guys and treat them the right way even when it comes to moving on from them. It rejuvenates me so-to speak getting to a new place."

Through three weeks in 2017, Dressler is third in the CFL with 103 yards per game. He had seven catches for a game-high 109 yards in Winnipeg's 33-25 win over Toronto on Thursday night.

Dressler led the Bombers in receiving yards a year ago, too, despite missing four games with an injury.

Dressler's success and longevity has some in the CFL media speculating about a Hall of Fame resume.

Dressler, who had a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2014 NFL preseason, said he knew he had more football in him—despite his unceremonious departure from the Riders, who released Dressler two years into a four-year contract.

"I don't think I ever had a doubt in my mind at that point," said Dressler, who was due $240,000 per year in his Roughriders' deal.

Dressler, who played at UND as a true freshman in 2004 and was the first to do that since star tight end Jim Kleinsasser in 1995, set 19 UND records. He was a four-time all-North Central Conference pick and was selected as an All-American by five different organizations after his senior season.

Dressler was a Division I-type talent in UND's Division II era. He now follows UND's rise in the FCS thanks to former teammates Brady Trenbeath and Danny Freund.

Freund, who is currently the wide receivers coach at UND and Dressler's college quarterback, recently attended a Bombers practice and toured the stadium with Dressler.

Dressler said he attended UND's first FCS playoff game last fall—a first-round loss at the hands of Richmond. It was the first game Dressler had attended in Grand Forks since he graduated.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "Maybe now that I'm in Winnipeg I can get down to a few more."

Dressler continues to add to an impressive pro resume, which started with a CFL Rookie of the Year award in 2008 and includes a Grey Cup in 2013. He's been a two-time CFL All-Star, a four-time CFL West All-Star and has racked up more than 1,000 receiving yards five times.

Dressler was married last year and still owns a home in Saskatchewan.

He said he'll quit playing football when it's not fun anymore. When his playing days are over, Dressler might try coaching.

So is he still having fun?

"Absolutely," Dressler said. "I'm having a blast."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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