They were on calls, separated by thousands of kilometres at different points in the day on Thursday. None of that mattered. Once Chad Owens, Weston Dressler and S.J. Green started talking about each other, it was like they were reading from the same script.

Starting with Dressler’s 2008 Most Outstanding Rookie award win, then joined in 2010 by Owens’ and Green’s electric playmaking ability, the trio battled each other in receiving yards races, for replay and highlight time on TSN and for playoff and Grey Cup wins for the next nine seasons. None of them disappointed.

On Friday, it was announced that all three will be a part of the 2024 Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s induction class.

“It’s funny because me and S.J. you know, we were there (in Montreal) together on the practice roster,” Owens told reporters from his home in Hawaii.

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Owens eventually requested a trade to get the playing time he sought, which led to him being dealt to the Argos at the start of the 2010 season. Stuck behind an all-time great receiver group with the Anthony Calvillo-led Alouettes, Green bided his time and worked his way onto the active roster from the practice roster. His diving, one-handed catch in the 2010 season opener — appropriately enough against Dressler and Roughriders — marked his arrival in the league’s upper echelon of receivers.

“Weston from a receiving perspective, he was that guy,” Owens said. “That’s what he did. “You can elevate each other and motivate each other throughout the course of the season. Weston makes his big plays, X amount of touchdowns. Man, okay, I know what I’ve got to do this week. S.J. comes over with this big, spectacular catch. TSN highlights. Man, I want that too.

“It’s the type of energy that…(was) very cool. No animosity, no ego. It was just respect at the highest level and we just fed off of that competition. I couldn’t be more excited to be going into this class with those two guys. It’s very special. That time that we competed, man. On a weekly. On a daily.”

Owens separated himself from the rest of the league, essentially, with his versatility. At five-foot-eight and 180 pounds, he became the first player in professional football to hit at least 3,000 combined yards in three consecutive seasons. He put it all together for a near-perfect 2012 season when he was named the CFL’s MOP and helped the Argos to a win at Rogers Centre in the 100th Grey Cup, while setting the pro football record for combined yards in a season.

“It was easy (to be inspired by Dressler and Owens) because they were they were great at their jobs,” Green said.

“Me watching Weston, (he) came in I believe in 2007 as well but he got to play right away. So I’m looking at him like, ‘Man I want to be out there like him. He’s making the plays that as a rookie, he has the opportunity to be a rookie of the year. It was easy to pull from those guys and to want to be the best. basically wanting to be the best, wanting to showcase my skill set and show that I was the best and putting it out there for the world to judge.”

Green left the football world with plenty to consider. He was with the Als from 2007-2016 and played for the Argos from 2017-2019, helping the Double Blue to a Grey Cup win in 2017, the third of his career after being parts of the 2009 and 2010 Als’ championship teams.

He’s one of 18 players to crack the 10,000-yard receiving mark (10,222) and his 716 receptions place him 12th all-time. He had 30 career 100-yard games and had 60 touchdowns, while being named a Divisional All-Star eight times and a CFL All-Star twice. Playing the waiting game at the start of his career, watching coach Marc Trestman work with Calvillo and all of those talented receivers in front of him, he said on Thursday, put him on that path.

“I remember those days on the practice squad, competing, battling,” Green said. “Those practice squad days for me as tough as they were mentally to to endure, I feel like those were the days that truly defined who I was based on the struggle that it took to get to where I eventually got to, because that’s what made me who I was.”

Standing at five-foot-seven with a playing weight of 167 pounds, if Dressler was underestimated because of his size at his position, he quickly made people pay for it. The 2008 Most Outstanding Rookie worked his way onto the Riders’ roster and into fans’ hearts through his eight seasons in Saskatchewan (2008-2015).

“For me at the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Dressler said of arriving in the league. I saw it as an opportunity to keep playing football, that was what it was to me. I was grateful for that opportunity.

“As I went through my career in those first couple of years in Saskatchewan and realized what the CFL is all about with the Roughriders while volunteering, I just fell in love with it all. Really thankful that I had that opportunity and got to realize really what the CFL is all about.”

Dressler sits 13th all-time with 715 career catches and his 10,026 yards put him 17th in league history. He found the end zone 65 times (including five kick return touchdowns) in his career, which saw him jump to rival Winnipeg from 2016-2018. A four-time West Division All-Star and two-time CFL All-Star, he was a key part of the Riders’ 2013 Grey Cup-winning squad, which did the job at home in Regina.

Dressler had the head start on Owens and Green, but found their careers became linked together quickly.

“Chad was a guy that I always admired because of what he did, not only as a receiver but as a returner and a special teams role,” he said.

“Watching him do both of those things at such a high level was always an inspiration.

“I can use just one perfect example of S.J. Green,” he continued.

“That one-handed grab in the back of the end zone against us on opening day (in 2010) definitely inspired me. Those guys made incredible plays, it was always fun watching them, whether it was against you or watching the highlights of them. I appreciate what they did for the game and the way they approached it.”

The talented trio will be reunited in-person on Friday, Sept. 13 at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Joining them will be cornerback Marvin Coleman and defensive end Vince Goldsmith in the Player Category.

Coaching legend Ray Jauch will be added in the Builder Category and Ed Laverty will be inducted posthumously.