Don't blame Burris

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris refuses to take any blame for the way things shook out...

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris refuses to take any blame for the way things shook out at the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Monday. (Calgary Sun/Stuart Dryden)

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Despite being disrespected, mishandled and misled by Roy Shivers the last time he played in Saskatchewan, Henry Burris paid tribute yesterday to the man who brought him into the league.

And while many believe it was Burris' westward migration in Janaury 2005 that marked the beginning of the end for Shivers as Saskatchewan's recently sacked GM, the Stamps quarterback refuses to take any blame for the way things shook out.

"Me? I didn't do anything wrong," shrugged the Calgary Stampeders quarterback, who slammed Shivers earlier in the year for trying to trade him and for the way he handled Burris' free agency talks.

"When I was there, I played and helped get the team to the Western final and a chance to go to the Grey Cup, so I did my job. What happens there as far as agents and GMs -- that's their business -- I don't negotiate, I play. That's why I'm here in Calgary."

Besides, as Burris added with a subtle hint of frustration, "he got the guy he wants there, Kerry, and he's doing a great job for him."

Quarterback Kerry Joseph isn't working for Shivers anymore, as one of the CFL's most astute talent adjudicators over the last 20 years was let go after making like a Saskatchewan construction worker and failing to build anything in Regina the last seven years.

That might not have been the case had he been able to sustain the momentum Burris gave the club late in 2004 when the man who started the year as a backup got the club within an 18-yard field goal of playing for their first Grey Cup since 1989.

Alas, Paul McCallum missed the last-second chip shot and had dung delivered to his neighbour's yard propriate given how bad the team has stunk since.

Burris has since tried to distance himself from 'Rider Nation, which has labelled him a money-grubbing traitor despite the fact Shivers had secretly signed Nealon Greene to be his 2005 starter and never tabled a legitimate offer to keep Burris.

"Last year there were still some emotions running wild (when he played in Regina)," said Burris.

"I don't worry about everything off the field and all that stuff -- people in the front office are doing their job. As far as what happened, coaches and administrators are only hired to be fired and that's just the name of the game. It's sad it's like that but, again, he brought a lot of great athletes to this league and you have to tip your hat to him for that."

Having met at a recruiting camp in New Jersey a decade ago when Shivers was still stocking talent for the dominant Stampeders teams of the '90s, the hotshot Temple quarterback recalled a rather rocky start to their well-documented relationship.

"I kind of didn't like him at first because he talked a lot of stuff. But things got better from there and we had a great relationship," recalled Burris, who was lured by Shivers from Calgary to Saskatchewan in 2000 and signed again with Shivers in 2003 when his failed NFL stint ended.

"He's straightforward and cutthroat and you have to appreciate that. But from Allen Pitts to myself, Elijah Thurmon, Nate Davis, Antonio Warren and lots of all-stars, he's done a spectacular job bringing in athletes clear across the league. This league definitely has to be thankful that a guy like Shivers has been around bringing in athletes who have helped make it the league it is today. I'm thankful for everything Roy did for me."

Admittedly surprised the firing followed a big win, Burris wasted little time dwelling on it yesterday.

"That's their business and we have enough to worry about with Montreal (tomorrow)," said Burris.

"That's the way things are run over there and I'm happy to be in Calgary."


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