Burris miffed over benching

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

CALGARY - Dang right, Henry Burris is ticked off.

As the starting quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders for the past seven years, getting yanked from the starting role certainly hurts.

So when he showed up Monday to McMahon Stadium and found out Drew Tate is taking over for him, the 36-year-old called it his worst day as a member of the organization.

“Every time you are asked to take a step back with all the things you’ve done and everything you still can do, it’s sour,” Burris said. “It bites a lot. It pisses me off. If I didn’t care, I shouldn’t still be playing.

“The decision was made. Some people will say, ‘Good, he needed it.’ Others will say, ‘Why is he not playing?’

“It doesn’t matter right now. If I’m needed, I need to be ready to go.”

Since signing with the Stamps in 2005 as a free agent from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Burris has only missed time due to injury or while resting for the CFL playoffs.

And since John Hufnagel took over as GM and head coach in 2008, Burris has been the starting pivot for all 69 games.

Now, it’s Hufnagel giving Burris the hook due to his performance over the past seven games, when the team has gone 2-5 and given up first place in the West Division.

It started on Labour Day, when the Stamps were humiliated 35-7 by the Edmonton Eskimos in a game which Burris had two interceptions and two fumbles.

The boiling point came Friday in Toronto, where Burris threw two interceptions — the final one a pick-six by Argonauts defensive back Byron Parker — and he skipped a pass to a wide-open Johnny Forzani in what was a 31-29 loss to the host Argonauts.

Still, the news came as a shock to Burris, who felt like Friday was an abnormality and not the norm.

“When you are the guy, you feel like you are the guy always,” Burris said. “You never expect anything like this to happen. When I get another chance, I will go out there and be Henry and light them up.”

Burris took a step forward in his career first with offensive co-ordinator George Cortez in 2007 and then again when Hufnagel arrived in 2008.

The Temple product was the 2008 Grey Cup MVP in leading the Stampeders to the championship, and he probably should have won the CFL’s most outstanding player award that year.

Instead, he picked up the honour last year after the Stamps had one of their best offensive seasons since the mid-1990s heydays.

He sits just 121 yards back of Doug Flutie for sixth place on the league’s all-time passing list.

For years, he’s been the face of this franchise, so it’s tough for him to watch as someone else take over his offence.

“It will take a few days to digest,” Burris added. “When you step in the huddle, it doesn’t feel the same. It’s a point you never want to get to as a quarterback.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @ianbusby57


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