Stamps pivot West's best

Stamps star quarterback Henry Burris has been named the West Division nominee for the CFL's Most...

Stamps star quarterback Henry Burris has been named the West Division nominee for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award. (QMI Agency/Al Charest)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:36 PM ET

CALGARY -- Henry Burris is full of surprises.

While being quizzed about his outstanding season -- make that, his Most Outstanding season -- after Thursday's practice at McMahon Stadium, the Calgary Stampeders gap-toothed gunslinger enlisted an unlikely philosopher to sum up his thoughts on individual honours.

"Snoop Dogg had a song -- It Ain't No Fun if the Homies Can't Have None," Burris said. "To me, individual awards are great and those are great accolades to receive along the way on the journey. But if you can't do it with all the guys -- all your teammates that are in that locker-roon -- then to me it means nothing. At the end of the year, I'd rather be drinking champagne than celebrating by myself.

"If you don't win on a team level, really, there's nothing to celebrate."

The Snoop Dogg reference was a bit of a head-scratcher.

Thursday's big news, though, came as no surprise.

For the second time in three campaigns, Burris is the West Division's nominee for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award.

Just like in 2008, he'll go head-to-head with Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo for the league-wide award.

And just like in 2008, Smilin' Hank figures he deserves to win it.

Although Burris is adamant that winning a Grey Cup is tops on his to-do list, there's no doubt the Most Outstanding Player snub is something that still burns in his belly.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," Burris said. "Right now, I guess my whole mindset going in is still the same as it was in 2008 -- I'm there to win a championship and we've gotta make sure we do what it takes to get there and to be in that same situation. But again, along the way, with all the hard work, hopefully you can win it.

"But I'm not going to be fooled if it happens again."

It shouldn't.

Although there are a couple of stinkers on his season resume, nobody in the three-down ranks made more game-changing plays this summer than Burris did.

He was at the controls of the CFL's top offence, an explosive group that led the eight-team loop in net yardage, points, touchdowns and first downs.

Despite being removed early in a handful of blowout wins, Burris led the league with 38 touchdown strikes and finished third on the passing charts with 4,945 yards through the air.

Still speedy at 35, he also rushed for 491 yards, the second-highest total of any CFL signal-caller.

Oh yeah, and his team finished with a league-best 13-5 record and earned the right to host next weekend's West Division Final.

Some experts will argue Calvillo deserves to win the Most Outstanding Player award for the third straight season, citing his impressive numbers despite missing three games to injury and his stingy interception ratio, but it says here Burris is the best candidate.

His Stamps teammates certainly agree.

"Maybe I'm biased because he has been my teammate and my really good friend for four years now, but he should have won it in 2008," said Stamps receiver Ryan Thelwell. "He didn't, but it's a new year. He's just had an amazing season. He's been our leader. His stats speak for themselves, but I think he just adds another dimension as such a great leader. There's not a lot of people that felt we'd be where we are right now, and Henry has done a good job of being the guy that's led us there.

"To me, he's the most valuable player, hands-down."

If nothing else, it would be interesting to find out who he quotes in his acceptance speech.

Twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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