Saskatchewan Roughriders

Henry Burris - Quarterback- 2014-16 - Temple

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Hero to Villain - Jamie Nye - CFL.ca - 24-01-2016

Henry Burris will be remembered as someone fans loved to hate in Saskatchewan.
The chants rained down time and time again whenever he visited Mosaic Stadium. Some of the most creative signs were created by fans to taunt Burris when he was Stampeder, Tiger-Cat or REDBLACK.


You have to understand the emotion of why Roughriders fans hated Burris was because they deep down, wanted Burris to be their quarterback. And when they wanted him the most, he returned to Calgary where the Riders found him in the first place.
When Roy Shivers took over the team going into 2000, the former personnel guru for the Calgary Stampeders went to one place to find a franchise quarterback and that was the QB factory of the Stampeders.


Doug Flutie to Jeff Garcia to Dave Dickenson and a young gunslinger from Oklahoma, Henry Burris.


Burris joined Shivers in Saskatchewan in 2000 and burst on to the scene with 30 touchdown passes. The problem was as good as Burris was with the Riders offence in their rebuild, the defence was bad.
The Riders defence gave up over 35 points nine times that season.


Burris, like he did everywhere, embraced the community and was quickly becoming a fan favourite. #1 jerseys were being sold and then he was gone.


The NFL came calling. First, the Green Bay Packers, then the Chicago Bears, then he was sent to NFL Europe. In those three years away, the Riders brought in Kevin Glenn and traded for Nealon Greene.


Burris would eventually return but with a bad knee in 2003, he wouldn’t play for the Riders, as they came a win away from appearing in the Grey Cup.


In 2004, Glenn was off to Winnipeg and Greene went down to a season ending injury in game one.
Burris was ready to regain his previous position of the future of the franchise. However, Burris was erratic once again. The team would score 46 points one night and just seven the next. Burris would throw three touchdown passes in one game and three interceptions the next. It was the beginning of ‘Good Hank, Bad Hank’
Then something clicked.


The team was 4-8 and looking like they were going to follow up a hopeful 2003 season with a downturn. But, Burris started to reduce the mistakes and the team score over 30 points in their final six games, winning five of them.
They were one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs and found a way to the West Final where Burris arguably played his best game of his two full seasons in Saskatchewan.


Burris threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Roughriders into overtime against the B.C. Lions.
That game is better known as the Paul McCallum game, when McCallum missed a chip shot field goal in overtime, opening the door for the B.C. Lions to kick a game winning field goal to advance to the Grey Cup.
It was Burris’ first big time performance of many to come. Roughriders fans felt there were great things to come, despite back to back West Final losses.


The Riders were close and they had a quarterback who showed they could win the big game.
Then came the public relations fight between Shivers, the man who brought Burris to Saskatchewan originally, and the young quarterback coming off the game of his life.


Shivers wasn’t ready to pay Burris starter money, especially with Nealon Greene coming back in 2005 from injury. Burris felt disrespected, despite telling anyone who would listen that he wanted to remain in Saskatchewan and that he loved the people, the province and the city.


A deal wasn’t made when Burris hit free agency and the Calgary Stampeders paid up.
And there Burris was, a big smile, a cowboy hat and he said how excited he was to be back in the city where it all started and Rider fans felt betrayed. They felt like he lied to them. The anger was honest and raw.
And in 24 hours, Burris went from fan favourite to enemy #1.
All that is left of the Burris era in Saskatchewan is the true story behind Burris’ departure. Something Burris says people will have to wait for in his book.


The other question, is what would have been.


Burris rise to stardom continued in Calgary on the way to a Grey Cup, continued in Hamilton and finished in Ottawa. But what if Burris did sign a deal in Saskatchewan.


The defence was becoming one of the best, the offence with Kenton Keith, Matt Dominguez and a strong offensive line was humming late in 2004. Pundits believe Burris would have won multiple trophies in Saskatchewan, while others are fine with what came after Burris; a Grey Cup in 2007 and another in 2013.


The one thing Burris always did was come to Saskatchewan with a smile on his face and the fans have grown to respect him. In 2011 he even got two standing ovations at a charity event in Regina, proving no one can really hate Smilin’ Hank – at least not for too long.

-- statistics --

 

 

Henry Burris       Temple  
    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1998 Cgy 11 5 83 45.5 0 1 26
1999 Cgy 60 36 529 60.0 4 4 63
2000 Ssk 576 308 4,647 53.5 30 25 81
2001 Played in NFL          
2002 Played in NFL          
2003 Ssk 24 11 130 45.8 1 0 31
2004 Ssk 544 322 4,267 59.2 23 18 70
2005 Cgy 435 265 4,290 60.9 23 12 70
2006 Cgy 537 305 4,453 56.8 23 18 74
2007 Cgy 471 285 4,279 60.5 34 14 85
2008 Cgy 591 381 5,094 64.5 39 14 85
2009 Cgy 571 339 4,831 59.4 22 16 62
2010 Cgy 559 370 4,945 66.2 38 20 100
2011 Cgy 442 281 3,687 63.6 20 12 81
2012 Ham 604 391 5,356 64.7 43 18 95
2013 Ham 568 374 4,927 65.8 25 19 64
2014 Ott 517 315 3,728 60.9 11 14 60
2015 Ott 678 481 5,693 70.9 26 13 84
2016 Ott 264 180 2,419 68.2 12 9 62
Total 17 7452 4649 63358 62.4 374 227 100

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1998 Cgy 2 4 2.0 2 0
1999 Cgy 13 81 6.2 16 0
2000 Ssk 68 188 2.8 17 8
2001 Played in NFL      
2002 Played in NFL      
2003 Ssk 2 16 8.0 9 0
2004 Ssk 84 464 5.5 34 7
2005 Cgy 82 513 6.3 31 9
2006 Cgy 70 480 6.9 21 5
2007 Cgy 85 623 7.3 39 5
2008 Cgy 87 595 6.8 35 3
2009 Cgy 106 552 5.2 30 11
2010 Cgy 70 491 7.0 27 3
2011 Cgy 51 385 7.5 34 4
2012 Ham 45 343 7.6 23 0
2013 Ham 46 298 6.5 19 0
2014 Ott 57 258 4.5 20 2
2015 Ott 75 274 3.7 14 7
2016 Ott 21 88 4.2 13 4
Total 17 964 5653 5.9 39 68

 

-- NFL --

 

 

    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
2002 Chi 51 18 207 35.3 3 5 45
Total 1 51 18 207 35.3 3 5 45

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
2002 Chi 15 104 6.9 17 0
Total 2 15 104 6.9 17 0