Monday, January 23, 2017
BURRIS TO RETIRE ON TUESDAY
Veteran CFL quarterback Henry Burris will announce his retirement on Tuesday, ending his career on top after leading the Ottawa Redblacks to a Grey Cup title last season.
The Redblacks have called a news conference for Tuesday and a source confirmed that Burris would be announcing he's decided to call it quits.
The 41-year-old guided the Redblacks to a dramatic 39-33 overtime win over the favoured Calgary Stampeders in the CFL championship game - despite suffering a knee injury in the warm-up - throwing for 461 yards and three TDs while rushing for two more en route to being named the game's MVP.
Burris will finish his CFL career with three Grey Cups (1998 and 2008 with Calgary were the others) and two outstanding player awards (2010, 2015). He's third in all-time passing yards (63,227) and TDs (374).
He also spent time in the NFL with Chicago and Green Bay (2001-2002) and is the seventh-leading passer in professional football history with 64,023 yards.
Despite Burris's Grey Cup heroics, the Redblacks had planned to enter 2017 with Trevor Harris as their starter, a move that reportedly contributed to Burris's decision to retire.
Burris's departure will leave Toronto's Ricky Ray as the CFL's leading active all-time passer with 54,883 yards. But Ray, 37, is also pondering his future this off-season.
Here's a look at how the CFL's nine teams all stack up under centre heading into training camp:
B.C. Lions: Jonathon Jennings, 24, is firmly entrenched as the starter. Jennings completed 371-of-554 passes (67 per cent) for 5,226 yards with 27 TDs last season while rushing for 363 yards on 68 carries (5.3-yard average) and four TDs. Travis Lulay, 33, the CFL's outstanding player and Grey Cup MVP in 2011, provides veteran experience as the backup.
Calgary Stampeders: Bo Levi Mitchell was the CFL's outstanding player in 2016 after passing for 5,385 yards with 32 TDs and just eight interceptions. Mitchell was also the MVP of Calgary's 2014 Grey Cup victory and at age 26 has plenty of productive seasons remaining. Former starter Drew Tate, 32, is reportedly available on the trade market.
Edmonton Eskimos: Mike Reilly, 31, was the league's passing leader last season with 5,554 yards. In 2015, he guided Edmonton to a Grey Cup title. Youngster James Franklin, 25, has shown flashes of brilliance, having completed 103-of-157 passes (65.6 per cent) for 1,307 yards with 10 TDs and just one interception over two seasons.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Zach Collaros, 28, is one of the CFL's best when healthy. He was enjoying a banner 2015 campaign before suffering a season-ending knee injury that also delayed his start to 2016. Veteran Jeremiah Masoli, 28, has served as the backup but Jeff Mathews, Jacory Harris and youngster Everett Golson are also on the roster.
Montreal Alouettes: Darian Durant, 34, assumes the starter's job after signing a three-year deal last week. Montreal acquired Durant's rights from Saskatchewan, where he had played 11 seasons. Vernon Adams, Rakeem Cato and Jonathan Crompton - who've all started games the past two years - are also on the roster.
Ottawa Redblacks: Harris, 30, threw for 3,301 yards with 16 TDs and four interceptions last year after registering a league-high 33 touchdown passes in 2015 with Toronto. Danny O'Brien, entering his fourth season, and sophomore Brock Jensen are also on the roster.
Saskatchewan Roughriders: Head coach/GM Chris Jones declared an open competition for the No. 1 job after sending Durant to Montreal. The Riders signed veteran Kevin Glenn on Monday, giving them six quarterbacks on the roster, including Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont. Mitchell Gale also saw action last year but is scheduled to become a free agent next month.
Toronto Argonauts: Veteran Drew Willy is expected to be the starter in 2017. The Argos acquired the 30-year-old from Winnipeg last year and restructured his deal earlier this month to include an extension through 2018. With Ray pondering his CFL future, Logan Kilgore and Cody Fajadro remain on the roster with Dan LeFevour slated for free agency.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Last week, Matt Nichols signed a three-year contract extension after posting a 10-3 record as the starter and leading the Bombers (11-7) to third in the West Division, ending their five-year playoff drought. Glenn was released in the off-season, leaving Dominique Davis as the only other quarterback on the roster.