Behind enemy lines
JORDAN HASLBECK, SPORTS COLUMNIST
The Bombers have signed former Saskatchewan Roughrider Weston Dressler, and the move has got fans talking again. Signing Dressler makes the Blue and Gold a more competitive team. Winnipeg fans will get to watch one of the CFL’s premier receivers every time there’s a game in their backyard, and one of the best rivalries in sports will get a little more interesting.
So far, the signing seems positive in just about every way possible. But what’s the move going to be like for Dressler? He was hugely popular in Saskatchewan — so much so that he had two kinds of potato chips named after him: Weston Undressed and All Dressler. That’s kind of how things are if you’re a star with the Riders.
But how will Dressler’s old fans feel now that he’s suiting up in blue and gold? It’s not like they can blame him for trading in his watermelon helmet. Saskatchewan’s new GM Chris Jones released Dressler three years before his contract expired, because Jones felt Dressler was too pricey. If Rider fans are going to be mad at anyone, it should be Jones — even though he did just win a Grey Cup as a coach in Edmonton.
My bet is that during the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl, Jones is going to have his fingers crossed tighter than Eddie Lacy’s pants.
A player moving to a rival team isn’t as common as you might think, but in a league as small as the CFL, it’s bound to happen. Saskatchewan’s Dom Picard recently traded green for blue and gold, and Brendon Labatte did the opposite. But switches like this aren’t as noticeable as bigger name players because these guys don’t score.
The biggest example of someone crossing over to what they once considered the dark side is probably Brett Favre. After 15 seasons and a couple of fake retirement announcements with the Green Bay Packers, Favre found himself wearing the ugliest colour to every Cheesehead: purple.
Favre did have a one-year stint in New York with the Jets before he put on those Viking horns, but it still seemed like a stab in the back to everyone in Green Bay.
Favre will surely be in the elusive NFL Hall of Fame by the end of the year, and his two years as a Viking didn’t make it any less emotional when Green Bay honoured him with a place in the Packers Hall of Fame. He gave a heartfelt speech from the grass at Lambeau Field to a full crowd on a day where there was no game. All was forgiven.
It’s important to remember that this game is a business to the team owners, GMs and players, but that doesn’t mean we, as Bomber fans, shouldn’t have some fun making fun of those “banjo-pickin’ inbreds.” Right, Troy Westwood?
Jordan Haslbeck is a reporter for Bison Sports and a mediocre beer-league hockey defenseman. He co-hosts Not Even the Press Box, a weekly radio show about the Winnipeg Jets at radio. rrc.ca.