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Dressler gets a shot with CFL's Roughriders

GRAND FORKS -- Weston Dressler picked up his degree in management Saturday during University of North Dakota's graduation ceremonies in the Alerus Center.

GRAND FORKS -- Weston Dressler picked up his degree in management Saturday during University of North Dakota's graduation ceremonies in the Alerus Center.

His graduation stroll perhaps was the only time Dressler was seen walking in the Alerus Center since he arrived on the UND campus four years ago. The former Sioux wide receiver spent most of his days in the Alerus Center burning opposing defensive backs for big gains.

However, Dressler's management career is on hold since the former Sioux receiver recently signed a two-year contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

The 5-foot-7, 165-pound receiver, who ended his career with 19 UND records, said he just wanted was a chance to play pro football.

"The biggest thing was getting the chance to play somewhere," Dressler said. "From the few talks I've had with the team, I think it'll be a good fit. I'm really excited to get up there."

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Dressler's time in the 40-yard dash (4.4 seconds), his big-play ability at wide receiver and game-changing punt and kickoff returns drew a lot of NFL scouts to Memorial Stadium as he prepared for his final season.

Dressler held out hope that he would sign a free-agent contract with an NFL team after the league's draft two weeks ago. But that opportunity never materialized.

"After the draft, we didn't hear much as free agency goes," Dressler said. "We decided rather than risking getting cut at an NFL camp, and not getting a chance to play in the CFL, that we'd try the CFL."

Saskatchewan held the negotiating rights to Dressler.

It didn't take long for both sides to come to terms.

"I was on their negotiating list," he said. "Last Friday we sent a letter off to the league saying that we were starting negotiations. Once we did that, we had 10 days to sign with Saskatchewan.

"Things went real well. As soon as we sent the letter, we started talking to them. Within four or five days we had everything figured out."

Dressler said he'll participate in Saskatchewan's rookie camp, which begins May 28.

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His role, he said, hasn't been totally defined.

"As far as I know, I'll play wide receiver," Dressler said. "Hopefully, I'll be on special teams, too."

Since CFL fields are wider and longer, Dressler's speed and agility could help the former Bismarck High standout land a roster spot with the Roughriders.

Dressler was a two-time first-team Associated Press Little All-American and also a Harlon Hill Award finalist. As a senior, Dressler caught 76 passes for 1,272 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He didn't think much about playing professionally until a year ago.

"Last spring we had a couple of scouts come in," Dressler said. "I had a chance to talk to them. And after talking to them, I thought I had a chance to play some more football."

Saskatchewan, which won the CFL Grey Cup last season, has another tie to UND football. Former Sioux standout Scott Schultz also plays for Saskatchewan.

The Roughriders' first preseason game is June 13 against British Columbia. The team opens the CFL season June 28 against Edmonton.

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But Dressler isn't looking that far ahead.

"I want to make the team first," Dressler said. "Then I want to contribute and help the team win."

The Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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