October 15, 2012
No regrets for former Stamps' QB Burris
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - If Henry Burris had accepted his situation in Calgary, chances are he would be leading the Stampeders into battle against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and not Kevin Glenn.
But even with the benefit of hindsight, the former Stampeders quarterback isn't having any regrets.
When told last December he wouldn't be the starting quarterback in 2012 training camp, Burris politely requested a new destination. He landed in Hamilton, taking the reigns of the Tiger-Cats under former Stampeders offensive co-ordinator George Cortez.
Even now, after Drew Tate went out in Week 2 with a shoulder injury and Burris and his Hamilton Tiger-Cats have struggled to a 5-10 mark, the 37-year-old isn't looking back feeling remorseful.
"I wouldn't change anything about what has happened," Burris said Monday after playing a round of golf with teammates.
"I'm out here playing my butt off, trying to put this team in a good situation. Hopefully, I'm doing a good job. That's all I can do.
"I wouldn't settle for being a backup to anybody. If I feel I'm one of the best in this league, I'm not settling for less."
This will be an emotional week for Burris. Not only is his homecoming Saturday at McMahon Stadium against the Stamps, he's seen his family just once since Labour Day.
Wife Nicole and sons Armand and Barrin have continued to live in Calgary, while Burris is playing in Hamilton. The family was reunited two weeks ago when the Ticats played in Edmonton, but it's been rough.
"With the struggles of the team, it makes it even tougher. It's a challenge I'm not used to," Burris said. "It's only a couple more years I will be doing this.
"Nicole has been by my side and very supportive. That's what it's all about: Having your best friend by your side, forever. She's been a rock for me. I'm appreciative of that."
On the field, the Ticats are in a must-win situation now two games back of the Edmonton Eskimos for the crossover playoff spot.
It wasn't supposed to work out this way for Burris. When he was dealt to the Ticats for Glenn and offensive lineman Mark Dewit, he was supposed to put Hamilton over the top.
This team was in the East Final last year, but the Ticats decided for a coaching staff house-cleaning, while adding Burris and free-agent receiver Andy Fantuz.
Instead of contending, Burris leads the CFL in interceptions and fumbles, while the Ticats defence is the worst in the CFL. One more loss combined with Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts victories and Burris misses the post-season for the first time since 2000.
Burris, who has a league-leading 104.7 passer rating, attributes the struggles to the Ticats youth. Last week, when they lost to the B.C. Lions, the Cats had only six players who were with the team three years or longer.
"It's hard to sleep at night sometimes," Burris said about the possibility of missing the playoffs. "We've had so many new faces every week. When we were going to play B.C., our team was going to break it down and I looked around at the guys on the team and said, 'Who are some of these guys?'
"I understand that situation. It's not easy, because I'm an older guy and each year every game counts that much more."
In replacing Burris and then Tate in Week 2, Glenn has led the Stampeders to an 8-5 mark as the starting pivot.
Who knows if Burris would have done the same had he stayed in Calgary, but there would be the question of when Tate would come back from shoulder surgery.
It doesn't matter, as Burris didn't go that route.
On Saturday, he will try to pick up the Ticats' first road win since July 28 while wearing Black and Gold in the stadium where he donned Red and White for seven years.
"Coming out of a different locker-room, going on the field, that will feel strange," Burris said. "Once it gets going, it will be a game and it will be intense. That's a guarantee."
So, how will the crowd react?
Burris did deliver a Grey Cup in 2008, but it was sometimes a rocky relationship with the Stampeders fans.
"I just want to be appreciated for everything I've done," Burris said. "I expect some people will boo me. All I want is truly to be respected for the things I've done. Nobody in those stands can say I didn't give my all and that I didn't make the team better."
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby