February 4, 2014

REDBLACKS make huge move; sign veteran pivot Henry Burris

OTTAWA – Henry Burris, the vaunted and wily veteran quarterback of 15 Canadian Football League seasons, is bringing his talents to the league’s newest team.

The 38-year-old native of Spiro, Oklahoma, has signed with the Ottawa REDBLACKS, becoming the fourth quarterback on the team’s pre-season depth chart, joining Kevin Glenn, Thomas DeMarco and Matt Faulkner.

As per team policy, details of the contract will not be disclosed.

Burris brings an impressive list of credentials to Ottawa-Gatineau:

  • Ranks fourth in all-time CFL regular season passing yardage (51,529) behind Anthony Calvillo, Damon Allen and Danny McManus.
  • Ranks fourth in all-time CFL regular-season touchdown passes (324) and needs nine to equal Ron Lancaster for third at 333, behind Calvillo (455) and Allen (394).
  • Ranks fourth in all-time CFL completions with 3,672; behind Calvillo (5,892), Allen (5,158), Ricky Ray (3,780)
  • Winner of two Grey Cups, both with the Calgary Stampeders in 1998 and 2008.
  • Named MVP of the 2008 Grey Cup, a 22-14 victory for Calgary over Montreal in a game played at Olympic Stadium (328 passing yards and 79 rushing yards).
  • Known for his scrambling abilities, Burris is 39th in all-time CFL regular-season rushing yardage (5,033), trailing Russ Jackson by a dozen yards. Among quarterbacks, only Damon Allen (11,920), Tracy Ham (8,043) Jackie Parker (5,210) and Jackson have more regular-season rushing yards, although Parker played both quarterback and running back.
  • Only Burris and Allen have recorded over 50,000 passing yards and 5,000 rushing yards in CFL history.
  • Won his 100th regular-season game as a CFL starting quarterback, a 37-7 win over Winnipeg on November 2, 2013.

“Henry’s credentials speak for themselves. His addition to our team’s depth chart is a major step for our team and our organization,” said REDBLACKS general manager Marcel Desjardins.  “Henry is a true professional both on and off the field and we all know that he will be ready to compete when our training camp begins this spring.”

Ottawa will be the fourth stop for Burris in his CFL career, after Calgary, Regina and Hamilton.

“I’m very excited to make Ottawa my next CFL home,” said Burris. “I’ve heard many great things about the new stadium and how people are getting excited about football coming back to Ottawa. I’m really looking forward to being part of that scene.”

Burris (6-1, 190 lbs.) entered the CFL in 1997 with Calgary before heading to Regina to join the Roughriders in 2000. He spent one season with the Roughriders before signing with the Green Bay Packers of the NFL.

He played one season with the Packers before joining the Chicago Bears in 2002, playing in six games and starting once.

In 2003, Burris began the season with Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe before returning to Canada and Regina where he spent the remainder of 2003 and 2004.

He rejoined the Stampeders in 2005 and played seven seasons in Calgary before being traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats prior to the 2012 season for Kevin Glenn, offensive lineman Mark Dewit and a conditional draft pick.

Burris had a standout season in 2012 in Hamilton, throwing 391 completions on 604 attempts for 5,367 yards and 43 touchdowns, all career highs. The completion, passing yards and touchdown totals became all-time Hamilton records. The passing yardage and touchdowns led the CFL.

Last year, he helped the Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup appearance, once again leading the league in passing yardage (4,927) while throwing for 24 majors on 374 completions.

Burris played college football with the Temple Owls (1993-96), setting several school records during four collegiate seasons. 


By: Barre Campbell