Burris likes what he sees

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

The Henry Burris sweepstakes tour touched down at McMahon Stadium yesterday, with the Calgary Stampeders making an impressive sales pitch. Early indications are team management scored points with the free-agent quarterback who could soon sign with the team, although president Ted Hellard said a deal isn't imminent.

Burris's agent, Ken Staninger, said yesterday his client was impressed with the new Stampeders and isn't scheduled to make other CFL stops before heading home to Houston today.

"I think Henry was pleasantly surprised," Staninger said. "He's taking this in. It's a business trip and I think he's treating it that way."

Burris had breakfast yesterday morning with some Stampeders players, then met with Hellard before dining last night with other players.

Hellard said discussions were informative but the club would patiently wait until Burris was ready to receive an offer.

"We just did what we had to do to give him as much information as we can to allow him to make an informed decision," said Hellard, who took Burris for a tour of his Critical Mass offices downtown, emphasizing the visit did not involve contract talks.

"I will offer a contract to Henry when Henry is ready to have a contract offered to him. That's at his pace and when he's comfortable and ready to receive contract offers. We will then be offering him a contract."

Hellard said he and Burris enjoyed an informative day and the quarterback will decide when he's interested in seeing an offer.

"It's a decision between Henry, his agent and whoever else he involves, like his family and so on," Hellard said. "Calgary has put its best foot forward. We had mutually informative sessions and I think both of us came away feeling very comfortable that it was worthwhile having a visit."

Burris is an attractive free agent because of his tremendous arm strength, mobility and leadership.

Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto said yesterday he considers Burris to have almost unlimited potential.

"I think he could be as good as anybody who's played in this league," Buratto said.

"He had one part of a good year in Saskatchewan, then he left to the NFL and bounced around and didn't play. In terms of quarterbacks, he's still in his infancy."

Burris went to Saskatchewan as a free agent before the 2000 season after three years as a backup in Calgary.

After NFL pit stops in Green Bay and Chicago, Burris returned to the Roughriders in 2003. He earned the starting job in Regina after No. 1 pivot Nealon Greene broke a leg in the team's 2004 season opener. Burris then led the 'Riders to the West final before choosing Tuesday to test free agency.

Burris reportedly turned down an offer from Saskatchewan in the $300,000 range and reports indicate he could command close to $350,000.

Buratto compares Burris, 29, to Lions sensation Casey Printers, with whom he worked last season in Vancouver.

"He and Henry remind me a great deal of one another, both in their makeup as men and their abilities," Buratto said.

"It's their determination, competitive fire and the fact they are both very solid people. They're polite, considerate, humble and very, very competitive guys."

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STAMPS INK FOUR: The Stamps signed four players yesterday, including two receivers.

Import receiver James Williams, 26, was a sixth-round selection of the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 where he spent three seasons.

Import receiver James Terry, a 6-ft. 5-in. Kansas State product, is the brother of Stampeders cornerback Nate Terry.

Canadian o-lineman David De La Perralle, 25, is a 6-ft. 7-in., 315-lb., Montreal native who played at Kentucky. He has spent time on the CFL rosters of Toronto and Ottawa.

Import defensive back Jermaine Chatman, 25, is a University of Arizona product who was in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores.

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AROUND THE CFL: Running back Michael Jenkins, 28, signed a contract for one year plus an option year with the Alouettes ... Argos RB John Avery took a pay cut and DE Eric England, who had been a free agent, re-signed with Toronto ... The Renegades raided the B.C. Lions defence, signing linemen Cameron Legault, Marc Pilon and Ray Jacobs ... The Tiger-Cats agreed to terms with free-agent receiver Chris Brazzell, who spent last season with the Lions. They also dealt offensive lineman Pascal Cheron to the Ottawa Renegades.


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