Tough to find flaws with Stamps' Burris

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 AM ET

Maybe it’s that non-stop smile.

Henry Burris never seems to show signs of pain.

Even if the Calgary Stampeders’ star signal-caller was hobbled, you’d likely never hear about it.

“That’s one of Hank’s great qualities. He’s very strong. He’s tough, too,” said Stamps play-caller and quarterbacks coach Dave Dickenson. “I’m sure he’s got his dings and his injuries, but he plays through it. Very rarely, as a quarterback, are you ever going to feel 100%.”

Burris insists he returned from the bye-week feeling as close as possible.

Bumps and bruises? Probably, but he’s not telling.

The rest of the CFL’s throwing fraternity hasn’t been so lucky.

Burris’ bunch has a Friday Night Football date with the B.C. Lions, and it’s expected Casey Printers will finally be back behind centre for B.C. after missing four games with a knee injury.

After being steamrolled by a couple of Stamps, Edmonton Eskimos gunslinger Ricky Ray left the Blowout of Alberta two weeks ago with chest and collarbone pain.

In Winnipeg, Blue Bombers pivot Buck Pierce simply can’t stay healthy. And Montreal Alouettes veteran Anthony Calvillo spent a couple nights in hospital after suffering a bruised sternum, raising questions about his status after the East Division bye-week.

When asked Monday morning about the Lions’ cloudy quarterbacking picture, Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said his plan is to simply “prepare as best you can for the starter and adjust on the run if somebody else starts playing.”

His coaching counterpart on the West Coast, Wally Buono, doesn’t have to play any guessing games.

Burris prides himself on staying in superb shape. The 35-year-old is still mobile, and he’s been around long enough to know when to just get rid of the ball before getting bulldozed.

Not surprisingly, though, he credits his health to the bulky blockers paid to keep him clean.

“To me, most importantly, it’s because of the guys I have around me,” he said. “We’re all on the same page. The offensive line does a great job of blocking and picking up those necessary rushes and things like that.

“I always tell the guys, if you leave me that one guy, I can pretty much handle myself in that situation. But there are some good defences and people are bringing a lot of pressure and to have the guys

I have up front — and Joffrey Reynolds and Jon Cornish and Rob Cote — blocking for me, it’s made life a lot easier for me.”

Likewise, the Stamps know they’re lucky to have him.

It’s no secret Burris ranks among in the upper-echelon of current CFL quarterbacks. His numbers this season — 1,950 passing yards, 213 rushing yards and 16 touchdown strikes in seven outings — prove it.

But does he get enough credit for his toughness?

He’s not sure. Frankly, he doesn’t really care.

“As long as I (get credit) within the locker-room, that’s all I care about,” Burris said. “If I’m needed to make a play, that’s just me doing my job … The guys in the locker-room appreciate what I do, and that’s really all I can ask for.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

More CFL: Pages 4-8


Videos

Photos