Burris armed with sympathy

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Because of the brotherhood of starting CFL quarterbacks, Henry Burris has sympathy for Ricky Ray.

But that doesn't mean the Calgary Stampeders are going to cry for their arch-rival Edmonton Eskimos because they lost their starting pivot.

That's because when Ray went down with a separated shoulder Friday, it meant Burris and the Stamps are on equal footing with the Esks.

Each team is trying to win -- and get into the playoffs -- without its No. 1 pivot.

The two clubs are fighting for a playoff spot in the West Division, with the Stamps holding a two-point lead heading into last night's game against the B.C. Lions.

"It was probably more shocking to us than anything else," said Burris, who sat out his first game last night with a dislocated left shoulder.

"Ricky had never went down with an injury before. To go down in such a fashion at such an important time of the season, we were saying, 'Wow.' This makes it tough on Edmonton to take advantage of our situation. We still have to win, but it allows us some cushion. Hopefully, we get it going before they do."

Akili Smith started in Burris' place last night in Vancouver, while Stefan LeFors will likely get the call for the Eskimos next week in Toronto.

"They are in the same situation as we are with backup quarterbacks who will have to mature quick," Burris said.

"You never want to see it happen to anyone, but it's a situation where those young guys have to step up and help the team out."

Burris is fortunate his injury happened on his non-throwing shoulder, whereas Ray hurt his right shoulder, which will affect his passing.

"I've never had that injury, so I don't know about much about it," Burris said. "I know what I'm dealing with, and I'm glad it's not my throwing shoulder. You need full strength in the throwing shoulder.

"I know Ricky will need to be 100 percent before coming back and being effective."

At this point, the only CFL starting quarterbacks to have played the entire season to date are Kerry Joseph with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Kevin Glenn with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And Joseph is playing injured.

"(Anthony Calvillo) went down with a shoulder, and Ricky and me," Burris said.

"We thought we should call Kerry and warn him the phantom is out for starting quarterbacks in the West Division."


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