Free-agent wide receiver Weston Dressler chose No. 13 with the Chiefs as homage to the fans in Saskatchewan, where he was a star for six seasons in the Canadian Football League.
The CFL plays with 12 men on the field, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ fans are known as the “13th Man.”
“The fans there were really amazing, they really welcomed me,” said Dressler, who caught 442 passes for 6,536 yards and 43 touchdowns and was a two-time CFL all-star while wearing No. 7. “It will always be a special place in my heart, and out of respect to the fans up there … I could have easily stayed and played a few more years up there, but I pursued this opportunity.
“I wanted to show them I appreciated everything they did for me while I was up there.”
Dressler, a diminutive 5-foot-7, 179 pounds, would be the fifth player in Chiefs history to be issued No. 13 and first since quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who did not appear in a game in 2011.
Dressler, 28, played in Canada after NFL teams, concerned about his lack of size, passed on him after he played at North Dakota and was the school’s all-time leading receiver. He is still readjusting to the 11-man game.
“The biggest things for me right now are the spacing on the field … moving back to a smaller field … getting used to the splits of the receivers … and the speed of the game,” Dressler said. “The windows are a little bit smaller, and you have to be in and out of your breaks a little bit faster.”
Smith changes number, too
When cornerback Sean Smith showed up to the Chiefs’ first voluntary practice on Tuesday, he did so with a new number on his chest and a smile on his face.
Smith, who wore No. 27 last season, has switched to No. 21, the same number one of his favorite cornerbacks of all time, Deion Sanders, made famous during his Hall-of-Fame career.
“At corner,” Smith said with a chuckle, “you only want (to wear) 24 or 21.”
Smith wore No. 24 in Miami, where he spent the first four years of his career from 2009 to 2012. He knew he wouldn’t be able to wear 24 when he signed with the Chiefs last offseason because Brandon Flowers already wears it, but he’s always had his eye on No. 21, even when fellow cornerback Dunta Robinson wore the number last year.
“It was funny because when me and Dunta (came as free agents), Javier Arenas had it,” Smith said. “So they asked me which number I wanted first and I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I’ll just take No. 34.’ Then the next day Javier got traded and they were like, ‘Dunta’s the vet and you already have a number.’”
Smith later switched to No. 27 before the season. But now that Robinson is no longer a Chief — he was released after a rough 2013 campaign — Smith can proudly sport the number he’s wanted for a while.
Murray, Thomas attend photo shoot
Chiefs rookie quarterback Aaron Murray and running back De’Anthony Thomas missed Wednesday’s practices because they were in Los Angeles participating in an NFL draft class photo shoot.
Thomas, the Chiefs’ fourth-round pick from Oregon and Murray, a fifth-rounder from Georgia, were among more than 35 rookies from 28 teams taking part in the annual NFLPA Rookie Premiere Photo Shoot for Panini America, an official trading card partner of the NFL and NFL Players Inc. It will be the first time the 2014 NFL Rookie Draft class members put on their team uniforms.
Terez Paylor contributed to this report.