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THE CANADIAN PRESS

REGINA -- Taj Smith is staying put.

The lanky receiver re-signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday. Smith was scheduled to become a free agent at noon ET on Feb. 15.

Smith, 30, is entering his third season with Saskatchewan. The six-foot-one, 198-pound receiver had a team-high 78 catches for
1,007 yards and seven TDs last year.

"Taj is a pretty big part of what we do, obviously,'' general manager Brendan Taman told reporters. "He was very committed to being here and Jeremy (assistant GM Jeremy O'Day) did a lot of great work behind the scenes to get it done.

"One guy off the list and an important guy is a good thing.''

Smith had 11 catches for 186 yards in Saskatchewan's two playoff wins before registering one reception for five yards in the Riders' 45-23 Grey Cup win over Hamilton. Smith has recorded 125 career catches for 1,697 yards and nine touchdowns in 31 regular-season games with Saskatchewan.

Taman still faces a busy off-season as Saskatchewan still has 16 potential free agents, including slotback Weston Dressler, running back Kory Sheets, kicker Chris Milo and punter Ricky Schmitt, who Taman said worked out for the NFL's Buffalo Bills on Thursday. Taman is hopeful he might re-sign one or two before the free-agent deadline.

"We're pretty aggressive to get something done before the 15th,'' Taman said. "But realistically one or two and that's probably what it's going to be.''

Last month, the Riders signed rookie free-agent kicker Brett Cameron, the son of Hall of Fame punter Bob Cameron who attended Winnipeg's training camp last summer. The younger Cameron spent four seasons at the University of North Dakota (2009-12) before signing with the Bombers.

"He (Cameron) is a legit contender to come in and compete but Ricky will dictate a lot of that,'' Taman said. "Ricky would like to come back and we're working towards that and hopefully we can get that done before (Feb. 15) but we'll see.

"We've had on-and-off communication with (Milo's) agent, moreso from our end. He's very driven to stay here if he can but business is business. I'm sure he'll have an offer to mull over once the 15th hits so we'll see where it goes.''

Sheets and Dressler were key contributors to Saskatchewan's Grey Cup push in 2013 but both have garnered NFL interest since the end of the season. If they sign south of the border, the expectation is neither would be back with the Riders until September, at the earliest.

Sheets finished second in CFL rushing with 1,598 yards. He capped his season by running for a record 197 yards in leading the Riders to just their fourth league championship.

The five-foot-seven, 179-pound Dressler led the Riders with nine TD catches and was second in receptions (70) and yards (1,011). He registered his fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign and fifth in six seasons with Saskatchewan.

"Everybody here is a big Weston Dressler fan and I think he deserves a chance if he can get one,'' Taman said. "I have no idea how it's going to play out but he's always welcome here no matter if it's January, September, October, November.

"If that's what he wants to do I really hope he can achieve that goal and we'll adjust accordingly. We can't really control any of that so we'll sit back and see what happens.''

Fan Comments
als rule
@CFLS: what? "other CFL teams most likely back in quebec" meaning what that montreal and ottawa are now both in the province of quebec?!! it may come as a HUGE surprise to the people of ottawa and the CFL H/office!!
January 20, 2014 - 9:22pm
 
cflsteve
It will be atough road for both sheets and Dressler to get onto an NFL roster
Sheets has already had his shot spending 4 seasons in NFL training camps some roster time and finally his Practice roster eligiblity ran out. Usually after that a player does not get back to the NFL so sheets would be a unique situation where his time starting in the CFL may have had him imporve in areas such as blocking and receiving to go with multi back systems. He also has the ability to be a kick off returner. That would have to be alot to go right for sheets to get onto a roster out of camp.
Dressler also unique. Usually a receiver would have gotten or taken a shot maybe 3 years before dressler is, Another unique situation a great punt returner that became a four year 1,000 yard receiver. Also a trend in the NFL looking for smaller slot backs to get lost in coverage gives him amother unique shot and he still is a great punt returner.
Milo's offers will come from other CFL teams most likley back to Quebec where he will now have tow options Montreal and Ottawa so he will have offers as both would be very interested.
Schmidt I cannot see how he would not be in an NFL camp. If you can punt you can punt and he can punt. Big booming leg and also unique that heis also great at Kick offs which gives a team an option of kick off kicker
January 19, 2014 - 8:55pm
 
als rule
@GCB: walter "sweetness" payton can't be included in your post as an example!! #34 was nothing short of SPECIAL and MATCHED BY NOBODY!!
January 19, 2014 - 5:17pm
GC Bound
Well I agree WP was Special and fortunately, You are no NFL expert.
January 20, 2014 - 1:48pm
als rule
@GCB: LOL WHAT?!! I'm no NFL expert NOW where's that coming from?!! jealousy?!! bitterness?!! or just plain envy?!!
January 20, 2014 - 6:20pm
 
als rule
all will be back with the riders sometime in 2014!! dressler not big enough or fast enough for a WR/SB in the NFL, sheets not big and fast enough for a NFL RB, FGK chris milo no where close to being a NFL FGK and P ricky schmitt probable is the nearest to being a NFL player!! now lets have all the green fans upset with me!!
January 19, 2014 - 12:33pm
GC Bound
While that may be generally true, there are and have always been exceptions.
Walter Peyton was an extremely small RB/FB. Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia were too small for the NFL .....NO they weren't
I'm not saying any of the Riders mentioned will make it in the NFL but really, wide generalizations.
Determination, Dedication, Intelligent decisions and Hard work in the NFL have many times Trumped size and out right speed.
Go Riders Go
January 19, 2014 - 12:47pm
Juggernot
No upset here AR, in fact I totally agree with your assessments except for one point - Sheets has enough 'sneaky fast' speed for the NFL. But to play down there he'd have to bulk up to increase his durability, and that would hurt his quickness. So, like you, I see him returning.
January 19, 2014 - 2:26pm
als rule
@GCB: you don't understand the NFL mindset re: talent returning for canada!! not wide generalizations BUT your post is flawed re: what's trumpted!! Jhead: US players come to canada perform well and return to south of the border BUT the NFL on the whole still views the CFL players that return the same way they did when they were cut and headed north!!
January 19, 2014 - 5:14pm
 
saskman100
Both Sheets and Dressler are very important to the Rider organization, but I do understand this is the nature of the business. I am happy for these guys but sad for possibly loosing 2 very good players. Good luck to these guys with there tryouts but you know you will allways be welcome back home here in Rider nation.
January 19, 2014 - 8:30am