Ottawa REDBLACKS QB Henry Burris sits down with Jon Willemsen and talks about why he chose to play in the Nation’s Captial, why he wanted to play on an expansion team, and his hopes for the team’s inaugural season.
On February 4, 2014, Burris signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa RedBlacks.
Henry Burris’ Football Career
Burris went undrafted in the NFL, and signed a contract with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders in 1997. He spent the 1997 season on the Stampeders’ practice roster.
He had his first, limited playing time in 1998 in relief of Jeff Garcia and Dave Dickenson, while dressing for all of the Stampeders’ games. In 1999 he received more playing time as Dickenson’s backup. He replaced Dickenson in the third week game against the Edmonton Eskimos, leading the Stampeders to a come-from-behind victory. He started the following two games against the Montreal Alouettes and BC Lions, leading the Stampeders to another victory in the former. He was injured in the third quarter of the latter, and spent the rest of the season on the injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
He moved on to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for his first opportunity to be a full-time starting quarterback. He started the first 16 games of the Roughriders season, throwing for 4,647 yards and 30 touchdowns.
The Green Bay Packers took interest in him after the CFL season ended, and signed him to a contract. Burris began playing in the NFL in 2001, when he spent several weeks as the Packers’ third-string quarterback, before he was released and spending the rest of the season on their practice squad.
He was signed by the Chicago Bears in the off-season. In six games for the Bears he completed 18 of 51 passes for 207 yards, with three touchdowns and five interceptions. He received significant playing time only in the last two games of the regular season. He was 8 of 22 for 50 yards and a touchdown against Carolina, fumbling twice, and 7 of 19 for 78 yards and four interceptions against Tampa Bay, for a 10.3 QB rating. While his passing was quite poor he showed better than average running ability for a quarterback, finishing the 2002 season with 15 rushes for 104 yards.
The Bears assigned him to NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder in 2003 where he performed respectably. Unhappy with being relegated to Berlin by the Bears, he returned to the CFL and the Roughriders, his former club. He immediately became Nealon Greene’s back-up. A knee injury forced him to miss the better part of the season.