Shivers me timbers!

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Roy Shivers always tries stirring the pot by saying things slightly offside.

The Calgary Stampeders aren't laughing at his latest salvo.

On a Regina radio station Tuesday, the Roughriders general manager said new Stamps quarterback Henry Burris won't get any special welcome when he returns to Saskatchewan, adding, "We'll treat him like any other quarterback and try to break his neck."

Shivers also tried to get a rise out of Burris last week at the Italian Sportsmen's Dinner when he said the 'Riders would kick his butt this season.

Accordingly, none of this sits well with the men hired to protect Burris.

While the affable pivot refused to fire back at the man they call Shiv, Calgary centre Jamie Crysdale didn't hold back yesterday.

"It doesn't look good on the league when a general manager says that, whether he's kidding or not," the 13-year veteran said yesterday. "Shivers has a tendency to speak his mind and probably say more than he should. The guy doesn't touch the field, so why is he even talking?"

Right tackle Jeff Pilon concurred and it sounded to him like Shivers has some sour grapes over losing Burris in a free-agent bidding war.

It's also of no coincidence Saskatchewan makes a visit to McMahon Stadium for the first pre-season game Tuesday (7 p.m.).

"He's trying to build hype for his team," Pilon said. "It's the first game he doesn't have Burris."

The way Pilon sees it, Shivers is trying to pull the 'us-against-the-world' ploy to make Burris look like the bad guy for choosing to sign with the Stamps, rather than remaining in Regina.

Pilon isn't being fooled and he doesn't think Stampeders fans are either.

"It's built in that you have to hate Burris now because he defected. If anybody leaves Saskatchewan, they're jerks. It happens with all the players when they leave," said Pilon, who was nonetheless shocked by the incident.

"When I heard that, I said, 'You got to be kidding me.' Coming from their GM, to have that come out of his mouth, it's not a funny joke."

Head coach Tom Higgins will start Burris in Tuesday's exhibition tilt and give the QB enough time to get completely comfortable with the offence before making way for those battling for the backup job: Jason Gesser, Darnell Kennedy and Michael Souza.

The 'Riders defence will get its opportunity to chase Burris down but Crysdale doesn't think anyone's crazy enough to take Shivers' words seriously and attempt to injure the former 'Rider.

"I would have a hard time believing the guys who played with Hank and are still friends with him, would ever purposely hurt him," Crysdale said. "It's just Shivers talking. You say something like that ... then what if one of those guys does hurt him?

"That almost sounds like a bounty. If that what he wants, then that's obviously what he's going to get."

Right guard Taylor Robertson found no humour in the situation but said Shivers is probably just playing mind games.

"All that kind of stuff is just to throw guys off their games," said Robertson. "I don't listen to that stuff because I hardly know those (Saskatchewan) guys."

Crysdale, who hiked Burris the ball in his first CFL game and is a good friend of the QB, said Shivers is flapping his gums, deflecting attention away from the fact he drove Burris to Calgary by not anointing him the 'Riders starter.

"If they wanted to keep him, make him No. 1 and pay him like that," Crysdale said.

"They put themselves in this position, they're the ones that did the deals. They can only look at themselves."


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