It's been a tough start with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for Weston Dressler.
The all-star slotback signed a two-year deal with Winnipeg in January reportedly worth $350,000 after being released for financial reasons by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But after missing most of training camp with an undisclosed ailment Dressler suffered a head injury in the first quarter of the Bombers' season-opening 22-14 loss to Montreal on Friday.
Dressler was back at Investors Group Field on Monday but didn't practise with the Bombers. However, head coach Mike O'Shea is hopeful Dressler will play Friday when Winnipeg visits the Calgary Stampeders.
"It's like anything else," O'Shea told reporters. "He shows up every day, sees (Bombers trainer Al Couture) and we'll go from there."
O'Shea wouldn't say if Dressler had suffered a concussion.
"We don't discuss the specifics of injuries," he said.
Dressler, one of GM Kyle Walters' big-name free-agent signings this off-season, had three catches for 22 yards versus Montreal. On his final reception, Dressler was running towards the sideline when he was hit by rookie Alouettes cornerback Ethan Davis.
Both players lowered their head just prior to contact with the impact of the collision knocking Dressler's helmet off.
Dressler spent eight seasons with Saskatchewan, five times surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving plateau. A two-time CFL all-star, the 31-year-old North Dakota native helped the Riders win the '13 Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium.
He amassed 539 career catches for 7,797 yards and 50 touchdowns with Saskatchewan.
HUGE RETURN: There was no shortage of big plays last week but for sheer excitement it's tough to beat Chris Rainey's effort in the B.C. Lions' win over the Calgary Stampeders.
Rainey's 72-yard punt return TD in the fourth quarter was not only electric but rallied B.C. to the 20-18 home victory. Rainey scored earlier on a one-yard run.
Last September, Rainey accumulated a whopping 333 return yards and scored two TDs in the Lions' 35-23 loss to Calgary. He also registered a 64-yard TD run for Montreal in its 50-17 defeat of B.C. in the '14 East semifinal.
The Lions' dramatic win came before 21,386 spectators at McMahon Stadium, the smallest home crowd on the CFL's opening week of play. But it marked a victorious return to the sidelines for Wally Buono.
Buono leads CFL with 255 career regular-season coaching victories. He initially left as Lions head coach after leading the franchise to the 2011 Grey Cup title to concentrate full-time on his duties as GM. Buono, who's also the Lions' vice-president of football operations, added the coach's job this off-season following the resignation of Jeff Tedford.
The largest opening-night crowd came in Edmonton on Saturday with 27,846 taking in Ottawa's dramatic 45-37 overtime win in a rematch of last year's Grey Cup game.
On Thursday night, 24,812 witnessed Toronto's first-ever regular-season contest at BMO Field, a 42-20 loss to arch-rival Hamilton. The following night, 26,433 spectators watched Montreal's 22-14 win in Winnipeg.
RULE CHANGES: When the CFL adopted 10 rule changes this off-season, senior vice-president, football, Glen Johnson was adamant it wouldn't result in longer games. Well, three of the four opening week contests were completed in under three hours, delays notwithstanding.
The only one to exceed the three-hour mark was Ottawa's wild 45-37 road win over Edmonton that was decided in overtime. Montreal's 22-14 road win over Winnipeg took four hours and two minutes to complete but included a weather delay of 1:05.
FINALLY: Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence, the East Division's top defensive player last year, had seven tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and interception-return TD against Toronto. Defensive back Johnny Sears also had seven tackles and a fumble recovery for the Ticats . . . Ottawa speedster Chris Williams finished with eight catches for 176 yards and two TDs versus Edmonton. Eskimos receiver Derel Walker, the CFL's top rookie last year, had seven receptions for 149 yards . . . Montreal's John Bowman, who had a league-high 19 sacks last year, registered two against Winnipeg . . . Steve Ferrughelli, who played fullback with Montreal and Edmonton from 1973-'76, died last weekend at age 67. The Newark, N.J., native, who played collegiately at Rutgers, won a Grey Cup with Montreal in 1974 and was named the MVP of the '75 game, which the Als lost 9-8 to Edmonton. Ferrughelli, who excelled in football despite a speech impairment and hearing disorders, was dealt to the Eskimos in 1976 . . . Kicker Luca Congi signed a one-day deal with Saskatchewan on Monday and retired a Roughrider. Congi, 33, of Waterloo, Ont., spent six of his nine CFL seasons with the Riders (2006-11), helping them win the '07 Grey Cup. He was also with Hamilton (2012-13) and Edmonton (2014).