Canadian Football League quarterback Henry Burris announces retirement
He’s leaving after winning the Grey Cup for the third time
Henry Burris, a three-time Grey Cup champion (1998, 2008, 2016) and quarterback for the Ottawa Redblacks, announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League on Monday. He’s third all time in the league in passing yards (63,227) and passing touchdowns (374), and a two-time Most Outstanding Player Award winner.
The Redblacks held a news conference for the 41-year-old Burris on Tuesday, during which he discussed his decision after leading the team to a 39-33 overtime victory over the Calgary Stampeders in November’s Grey Cup.
Following the win, Burris was named the MVP of the CFL Championship.
Besides playing with the Redblacks for three years, Burris had a 17-year career that included pit stops with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Stampeders and the NFL’s Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.
“I tell people that, if there’s an organization that you want to play for, it’s definitely the Ottawa Redblacks,” he told the Ottawa Sun. “When it comes to having a first-class organization from top to bottom and having the right people running it, it’s definitely in place here.”
Burris’ path to his last Grey Cup involved a major detour when he was passed over for Trevor Harris as Ottawa’s starting quarterback. He would ultimately reclaim his starting position.
In pregame warm-ups for the championship, the Spiro, Oklahoma, native and Temple Owl felt a pop in his knee, which required medication so he could play through the pain. Based on Burris’ stat line, the injury didn’t hamper him too severely, as he completed 35 of 46 passes for 461 yards and three scores.
“He’s the type of person who likes to hear the negative things in order to motivate himself to do better,” former Stampeders teammate Nik Lewis told the Toronto Star. “He’s a pretty intense competitor; he wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s someone you know will give you everything he has. I’ve always said when he’s on, there’s none better.”
At Burris’ news conference, he explained that injuries contributed to his thoughts of retirement. Calgary signed Harris with the understanding he’d take over behind center, which also may have added to Burris’ decision.
Even though other teams may have been interested in his services, Burris said, his family likes Ottawa as a permanent home.
“For me to be selfish, I could have said let’s do one more year, but when it came down to it, the most important values for me were my family first and the future being second,” Burris told SportsNet.ca on Tuesday.
“I’m thankful to be one of the few people to play this game until I’m 41 years old, but even more importantly I’m coming off the field with my health,” Burris said.
Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins said the team will honor Burris sometime during the 2017 season.
“None of us are where we’re at today if it’s not for Henry Burris,” Desjardins told SportsNet.ca. “This franchise is not where it’s at if not for Henry Burris.”