Burris contrite after fallout from Friday's lopsided loss

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

Henry Burris regrets making the longest, most deft QB scramble of his pro career Friday night.

Yesterday, he apologized for side-stepping his Calgary Stampeders teammates and finding a seam through the horde of media carnivores awaiting his post-game comments after a 43-20 loss to the visiting B.C. Lions.

Burris was yanked from the game after the third quarter, his night ending on an ill-advised interception toss to B.C.'s Dante Marsh, who ran 63 yards for a Lions major.

It was the first time Burris had been pulled for sub-par play since his college days a decade ago at Temple University.

"We got our butts kicked and here I was getting pulled from the game. I put a lot more on myself than I should have," Burris said yesterday, explaining his fast footwork after completing just 16 of 30 passes.

"Trust me, I'm a very hard critic on myself and, if I get pulled, I'll be triple hard on myself. I should have found a little buffer area to chill out after the game before answering questions. It was a different situation and, if I offended anybody on my team, I apologize. I'll never dodge criticism.

"I've already talked to a bunch of my teammates, why I did what I did, but everybody understands. They knew it was a tough situation. A lot of guys felt I was giving it all I could, giving guys a chance to make plays. The coaches made a decision based on that stupid play I made with the interception."

His reaction, while inexcusable for a pro athlete, could also be a symptom of deeper troubles within the team. Burris, like every starting quarterback, is looked upon for leadership and character.

Stocked deep with talent, the team sometimes appears short on equally important intangibles.

Offensive lineman Jay McNeil, the most senior Stampeder in his 13th year of service, thinks the club is still fielding 42 individuals instead of a team.

"I don't think it's being done maliciously but we're not focusing on what we can do as a team," McNeil explained.

"We are playing as individuals.

"On the offensive line, we have to take it as if one of us gives up a sack, we're all giving up a sack, not, 'Whew, I'm glad it wasn't me.'

"That's seems like the attitude our whole team's got right now. We're out there playing as a bunch of individuals. We've got a lot of great talent in this locker-room but we're not playing as a team. We have to keep harping on it and until we lose that mindset, it's going to cause us problems."

Burris said he supported the coaching decision but insists he was playing well enough to pull out a win.

"My heart skipped a beat because up until that interception, I thought I had been putting the ball where it needed to be, making the right reads and giving guys chances to make plays," Burris said.

"Up until that point, I thought I was managing the clock, taking what they gave me. Of course, I had a few errant throws that I wish I could take back but I thought I would be able to come back and make some plays."

Burris issued a challenge to the team, which travels to Regina to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday.

"Teams are judged by how they react to certain situations and we have some adversity," Burris said. "Now we'll see how this team is going to react."


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