Burris an Allen ally

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris says fellow QB Damon Allen made a lasting impression on...

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris says fellow QB Damon Allen made a lasting impression on him when he first started in the CFL. (Calgary Sun File/Stuart Dryden)

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

Henry Burris still recalls the images of a young Damon Allen beamed via satellite into his Oklahoma living room almost two decades ago.

Allen, then with Edmonton Eskimos in the mid-1980s, made a lasting impression on the aspiring young quarterback that has continued during Allen's 22-year CFL odyssey en route to becoming pro football's all-time leading passer, recently surpassing the legendary Warren Moon.

"I remember Damon down there just doing his thing and he was always a spectacular player in my eyes," said the Calgary Stampeders star quarterback, who will face Allen's Toronto Argos Saturday at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., CBC, subject to local blackout).

"Way back then, the guy was already working his magic and, seeing what he can still do today, it seems like he'll be able to do that forever.

"I've gotten to know him very well, talk every two or three weeks just top check up on each other. He gave me a call to congratulate me on our son (in April). He's a great guy."

The 43-year-old Allen's CFL journey has included more than 70,000 passing yards and four Grey Cup rings. Along the way, he and Burris have become friends, part of the fraternity of CFL quarterbacks. While some football observers question the validity of Allen's numbers against Moon's work, compiled primarily in the NFL, Burris argues all the stats are equally legitimate.

"Football is football in my eyes," said Burris, 31. "That's the way it was started, probably by the media, and if you're going to count everybody's yards, then count everybody's ... the guy passed for that many yards for a reason.

"You don't see a lot of NFL quarterbacks make it in the CFL. If he was able to put those numbers together, then so be it.

"He's a prototypical CFL quarterback but he's a guy who could have played in the NFL had he been given a chance. He did a great job up here using his God-given talents, whether it was by air or along the ground. He was able to make plays and win Grey Cups."

While Burris has 41-year-old teammate Danny McManus to marvel at this season, he can't imagine playing ball for another decade.

"I just take it year after year but to play to 42, 43 years old, it's hard to make it that long," Burris said.

"To see a guy be able to do that you wonder what he's done with his body to stay in such great shape and last that long."

Burris' propensity for moving the chains with his legs this season and an elusive running style has conjured up comparisons to Allen. Burris' mobility has allowed the Stampeders offence to become more versatile.

Burris has 419 yards, leaving him seventh in league rushing, while Allen has piled up close to 12,000 yards along the ground.

"The guy's slick -- we call him a slinky out there because he doesn't run straight up, he's always low, he gives you so many angles to hit him from and yet he doesn't give you anything to hit, he's smart, makes good decisions, good mental decisions," Burris said.

"If you watch how Damon plays, he runs to get the necessary yards, gets down and saves himself for a long season and a very long career."


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