Burris forced to play it safe on the pine

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Henry Burris peeled off a clean Calgary Stampeders jersey last night, which is exactly what his head coach wanted.

But then the Calgary Stampeders No. 1 pivot had to read a thank-you text message from a Saskatchewan Roughriders player for sitting out last night's 27-13 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Because the Stampeders lost, the Roughriders clinched a home playoff date for the first time since 1988.

"They deserve it," said Burris, obviously disappointed he didn't play. "They've had a heck of a season. They did what they needed to in order to make it happen."

Burris was given the week off to rest a shoulder injury that didn't stop him from throwing five touchdown passes five days earlier against this same team.

If this were the playoffs, Burris would have played. Instead, Ben Sankey started and couldn't get a touchdown until the game was already decided.

"Of course, I wanted to be out there," Burris said. "But it was a good chance for Ben to try and make some things happen. Unfortunately, we just didn't make enough."

Head coach Tom Higgins wanted to guarantee Burris wouldn't be hurt further, and the only way to do that was not play him.

Burris said he will return next week at home against the Montreal Alouettes because the Stampeders (7-8-1) want to head into the post-season on a roll.

The Stamps are now 0-3 without Burris, and 7-5-1 with him starting. They still haven't won outside of Alberta, and face a playoff road that goes through Regina and Vancouver.

The quarterback will insist on playing through pain from here on out.

"I'm still going to work my tail off," Burris said. "We're so late in the season. We put too much effort into this. I'm at the point now where I'm going to deal with it and tell him I will go. In some instances, I might not be able to give my opinion.

"From here on out, they have to know what I want to do. I want to play to make sure we get into the playoffs for one, but go into the playoffs on a roll."


Photos