2017 CFL Season


One of the greats: Retiring Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris is truly going out on top

Henry Burris is taking the term “going out on top” to another level.

Never before has a 41-year-old quarterback won a Grey Cup, while few players of any age have delivered a comparable performance in a championship game to the one he gave — against one of the best teams in CFL history — on Nov. 27 at BMO Field in Toronto.

Yet Burris will walk away from it all when he announces his retirement Tuesday at noon, with Redblacks teammates, coaches and staff in attendance at a news conference in Ottawa, and it will feel like he’s doing it too soon.

If old Hank doesn’t have a tear in his eye, it will be a surprise.

Burris isn’t hanging them up because he wants to. After 20 seasons as a pro, he isn’t saying goodbye to the game he loves because he feels it’s time, or that he can’t do it anymore. He just has no other choice.

What led him to his status as the No. 3 passer in CFL history is his fierce competitiveness, and that trait will simply not allow him to stand on the sidelines as the backup to Trevor Harris next season, unable to have a direct hand in the outcome of a game.

It has never permitted him to be content playing behind anybody.

But you really can’t blame the Redblacks for this predicament, either. To seal the deal for Harris’ signing in Ottawa last winter, they had to give him starter’s money for 2017. They also had to get Burris to agree to a pay cut if he was coming back, just to make it work under the cap.

How did they know Burris would still be at the top of his game? And even if they had a hunch, how could they pass up a chance for a QB tandem of the league’s most outstanding player in 2015 and the CFL leader in touchdown passes that year?

The Redblacks had no interest in a long, slow growth. After making it to the Grey Cup game in 2015, they wanted a championship team pronto. They did what was necessary, and now they have to pay one of the consequences.

Burris, meanwhile, leaves a league he joined in 1997 when, after a record-setting four years at Temple, he wasn’t drafted by the NFL.

He paid his dues for one season on Calgary’s practice roster, finally getting some playing time in 1998 as a third stringer behind Jeff Garcia and Dave Dickenson as the Stampeders went on to win the Grey Cup.

A recap of Hank's long career...................

One of the greats: Retiring Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris is truly going out on top | National Post

Thank you, Henry Burris for all the contributions you have made to our league. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


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