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Expansion Redblacks make contract offer to free agent receiver Dressler

Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Weston Dressler speaks to reporters after practice at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Thursday, August 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

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Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Weston Dressler speaks to reporters after practice at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Thursday, August 28, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

The Ottawa Redblacks are making a play for coveted slotback Weston Dressler.

Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins said Wednesday he has made a contract offer to the former Saskatchewan Roughriders star, who cleared NFL waivers Tuesday after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs. Desjardins added he hasn't immediately heard back from Dressler's camp and wasn't sure when he would.

"We've made an offer and that's pretty much where it's at," Desjardins said.

Ottawa isn't the only team to have made a pitch to Dressler. A CFL source requesting anonymity said Saskatchewan has also offered him a deal.

Justin Seurer, Dressler's agent, did not immediately return telephone messages.

Desjardins wouldn't divulge contract details but there are reports the Redblacks' offer was worth $250,000 annually.

The Riders released Dressler, 29, in January — roughly two weeks before he was scheduled to become a CFL free agent — so he could explore his options south of the border. Shortly after working out for the Chiefs, Dressler signed with the NFL club and donned No. 13 in honour of Saskatchewan's rabid football fans, affectionately dubbed the 13th Man.

The five-foot-eight, 179-pound native of Bismarck, N.D., 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. Desjardins said Dressler would definitely improve the Redblacks offence — which is ranked second-last in scoring (15.8 points per game) and yards (291.8 per game) — while also helping the franchise in the community.

"He brings ability on the field, ability off the field in terms of leadership skills and the type of person he is and the character he has," Desjardins said. "He'd be a tremendous asset to the Redblacks.

"The football side of it, I think, is pretty self explanatory but he'd bring us a true weapon."

And the more weapons the better for Ottawa (1-7), which enters weekend action just four points behind the first-place Toronto Argonauts (3-6) in the East Division.

As an unrestricted free agent, Dressler is free to join ay CFL team and there are reports as many as five are interested in the veteran receiver. And with the league's salary cap increasing to $5 million this year, that could give clubs more money to try and entice Dressler.

And Desjardins doesn't think Dressler will wait long to decide his CFL future.

"My sense of it, based on what I talked to him about the other day was towards the end of the week," Desjardins said. "But that was more a sense than him actually saying it."

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