Burris getting job done despite sliding stats

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Henry Burris doesn't need to be reminded of his shabby stat line in recent weeks.

The Calgary Stampeders gunslinger, though, wants three-down football followers to remember the numbers that matter most.

"The thing is we've won five out of our last six games," Burris said yesterday as he packed his equipment bag for Monday's matchup with the host Montreal Alouettes.

"If I come under fire for helping us win games, then so be it."

Even with the temperatures plummeting at McMahon Stadium, the Stamps starting quarterback and highest-paid player must be feeling the heat.

In his past three outings, Burris is averaging just 147.7 passing yards. The Stamps have scored only four touchdowns during that span -- one through the air and three on foot -- and Hank has been hearing about it.

Nonetheless, he still shares the league lead with 18 TD passes and is tied for third with seven rushing majors, three more than Ricky Ray.

Burris ranks third behind the Als' Anthony Calvillo and Edmonton Eskimos' Ricky Ray in almost every other major quarterbacking category, including completions (246), throwing accuracy (58.9%), passing yards (3,445) and quarterback rating (87.9).

Oh yeah, and he's the undisputed leader on a first-place team.

"He's the captain of the ship, man, and without Hank, a lot of times you'd really think the ship could sink," said Stamps slotback Jeremaine Copeland. "All the talk and criticism that's going on out there is just a bunch of talk.

"He's always got to prove himself, and I really think that all that stuff should already be over his head. He proved himself last year -- that he can make it there, that he can win it, that he can be the best ... He's proven that, and I really think people should get off his back about it."

It was three days before the Stamps' last appearance in Montreal that Burris sent shockwaves through the CFL, complaining of being "robbed" after Calvillo was named the most outstanding player.

Although he left the awards ceremony empty-handed, he returned to Calgary with the Grey Cup in tow and was named MVP of the championship game, to boot.

Whether that's changed the perception of him in any other CFL city, he doesn't give a hoot.

"I don't care about respect and all that stuff," Burris said. "I know I have respect inside this locker-room and I go out and play for this team. I'm looking forward to going out there and doing what it takes to help our team play the best we can Monday. Whether it's me tucking the ball or taking off like Superman and doing a helicopter flip, whatever it takes to help our team be victorious, I'm always up for it."

The rest of the team has no doubts about that.

Stamps boss John Hufnagel scoffed at the suggestion of replacing Burris, even for just a handful of plays.

"I don't think -- well, I know -- nobody in this locker-room is worried about Henry's production," said Stamps slotback Arjei Franklin. "Offensively, we're going to be just fine."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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