Free agency could split up Riders' nucleus | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League


REGINA -- Having boasted one of the deepest cores in recent memory, the 2013 Saskatchewan Roughriders are well aware that the 2014 edition of themselves might look a little different.

Star running back Kory Sheets and slotback Weston Dressler - one of quarterback Darian Durant's favourite targets - will both become free agents in the off-season.

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Other players could be lost when Ottawa starts stockpiling its roster with picks from the expansion draft. The existing eight teams will be forced to protect a certain number of players, with the REDBLACKS then allowed to pick from those left unprotected.

Durant would like to see some key players stay in Saskatchewan, such as Dressler, his neighbour in the locker-room.

"I want the whole nucleus to be together. We've been together since '08,'' Durant said.

"We put in the time, put in the years so I definitely want him back, but I know he'll probably explore some opportunities that may be out there for him down south and if it doesn't work out then I think he'll be back. This is the place for him. That chemistry we have, you know you saw it throughout the playoffs, and hopefully we'll get something done.''

Dressler, who went to the University of North Dakota, joined the Riders in 2008. He has spent his entire career in Saskatchewan. He had a league high 13 receiving touchdowns in 2012.

The receiver says he's just enjoying the experience of winning the Grey Cup right now, but he also says he would take a look at heading south for the NFL.

"If the right opportunity presented itself, I would definitely take a look at it and have to consider all my options at that point, if I had a real chance,'' said Dressler.

Sheets originally signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009, then moved to the Miami Dolphins later that season and signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2011. He joined the Roughriders in February 2012.

Sheets captured MVP honours after rushing for a record 197 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Grey Cup win last Sunday.

Like Dressler, Sheets also says he's just going to enjoy being a Grey Cup champion. But he can't deny that he has his eyes on the NFL.

"I would like to come back, but if the situation is right in the NFL, I can't stop my heart from going to try and fill that void I have right now,'' said Sheets.

"It's all about the right opportunity and if it's not the right opportunity, I'm not going to take it. And I wouldn't play for no other CFL team in the league, so don't anybody got to worry about that,'' he added with a laugh.

Durant said he believes says the offences being run in the NFL would suit both Sheets and Dressler.

"I don't blame those guys for exploring their opportunities. They're both hell of a players and they deserve the opportunity to play at the highest level, so I'm happy for those guys,'' Durant said. "But if it doesn't work out, I think both of them will be back.''

Saskatchewan could also be without veteran linebacker Mike McCollough next season.

McCollough, who was born in Kingston, Ont., was drafted by the Riders in 2003 and has spent his entire career with the Green and White.

After winning his second Grey Cup with the team on Sunday, McCollough said it "could very well be'' his last game as a Rider. McCollough said he and his wife would sit down in the coming weeks and "decide what's next for us.''

Durant said Tuesday that McCollough has meant a lot to him and has done a lot for the organization.

"Man, I'm just glad that if it is his last game, he can go out on top, go out a champion,'' said Durant.

With files from Staff

Fan Comments
als rule
none of the 8 teams will be affected talent wise on their roster after the expansion draft for ottawa!! remember back to when ottawa entered the league the last time none of the teams were hurt by the talent they lost to ottawa!! same thing this year!!
December 03, 2013 - 1:17pm
Breaking News: Free agency, retirement, and expansions draft could break up "_insert team name_"'s nucleus.
December 03, 2013 - 9:56am
Players and coaches move on every year and while I am worried about a few of them, the next player has got to step up. I am sure that the Riders will look different, but for the players this year thanks for the memories and good luck with whatever you decide to do.
December 03, 2013 - 7:33am
Riders R 4 Real
Not taking anything away from these two and others - like DD - who are stars, the team won their playoff games in the trenches. Even Schulzie said at the half of the West semi that BC's O-line was playing their best ball of the year; that's why BC was so difficult for the Riders to beat.
With the decimation to Calgary's D-line, our O-line (the best in the league imo) was so dominant that the Stamps didn't have the time to establish a run game because they had to keep up with the Riders' offence.
In the Hamilton game, both of our lines were too much to handle. Hamilton had a good first couple of series, and the Riders were definitely lucky not to cough up the ball. But in the end, the Riders big boys were better than everyone else's.
December 02, 2013 - 8:51pm
This Old Man
Rey Williams, John Chick - both lucky they didn't lose their place in the CFL. Weston is fantastic - in the CFL. Wider field, different game - he'll get killed in the NFL. Kory? Well, be careful for what you ask for Mr. Sheets - practice roster AT BEST. Running-backs are a dime a dozen. Ask Mr. Buono. Of all the roster spots? Yours is most-replaceable. Unless you stay and play out your career in Green, you'll be a statistical footnote, like, uh, what was that guy's name who ran so well a few years ago?
December 02, 2013 - 4:36pm
Riders R 4 Real
Thought Chick had a good playoff run - and an excellent Grey Cup game getting reacquainted with Hennreee!
December 02, 2013 - 9:20pm
Changes, changes, change, creeps on in it's mysterious ways. All teams will lose players. It's the one's that remain and the "New Meat" that comes in and prospers. So he sayeth, let's prepare for another year of outstanding CFL football. Glenn, Lulay, Burris, Durant, Tate, Collaros, Ray so let's move 'em Boy's and hope for that awesome Rookie that no one knows!!!
December 02, 2013 - 2:56pm
als rule
F/Agency, trades, retirements, releases, attempting the NFL, pay raises, etc etc happen to all CFL teams in the off season!!
December 02, 2013 - 2:08pm
Absolutely. The change in the Argos defense from 2012 to 2013 is a good example.
December 02, 2013 - 4:12pm
And they generally make an article about it every year.
December 03, 2013 - 1:59pm
als rule
G11: and what does that mean?!!
December 04, 2013 - 1:11pm
McCollough is pure class. He's always stepped up when the Riders have needed him on D, and he's been a great special teams player.
Definitely worried about free agency and the expansion draft, this team has a lot of standout players, more than they'll be able to protect on Dec. 12th
December 02, 2013 - 12:18pm
True, but they also have more than three extras. I'm more worried about the NFL
December 02, 2013 - 1:07pm
True, but they also have more than three extras. I'm more worried about the NFL
December 02, 2013 - 1:34pm
als rule
"more than 3 extras" means what?!! the riders at every position have 3 extra back up players. Is that what you mean?!! if so that's hilarious!! you won a GC now don't get carried away with yourself!!
December 02, 2013 - 4:14pm