Running and Gunning in CFL

Considering that Henry Burris is currently listed third on Chicago's off-season depth chart at quarterback, the 26-year-old might strike some observers as surprisingly optimistic.

Burris considers his mobility a major asset, having scored no fewer than eight rushing touchdowns for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2000 — his fourth campaign in the CFL. He spent 2001 on the Packers practice squad before signing with Chicago during the off-season.

"Oh, definitely," he said of this talent, "because that's the hardest quarterback in the game to defend. You know, you (the defense) have to worry about what routes are being run by the receivers, the backs and the tight end. But, also, you take one guy out of doing his responsibilities just to ‘spy' a running quarterback.

"The thing I try to do," Burris continued, "is not only just scramble all the time. You know, I'm a passer first — I'm a quarterback first, and let 'em come after me second. But, all in all, I'm an athlete who's going to try to out-smart you. So a lot of times it looks like I'm about to run and, really, I'm just moving the pocket just to open up another route."

Despite having set a host of season and career passing records at Temple University as a collegian, Burris opted to try his hand at the CFL coming out of college rather than the NFL.

"I had a lot of free agency shots to go to teams in the NFL, but, you know, it was just my comfort level at the time, coming out. Because, really, going to Canada for me — going there for four years — was just like college for me, because I had a chance to be successful — win a championship (Canada's Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders), learn a lot of things as far as with the game, and also with myself as a person. Right now, I'm coming back that much more mature — as a player and a person.

"And, you know, despite whatever is thrown at me as far as my role here with the team, I'm ready for it. Because I've been through the rock bottom and to the top of the world — winning the Grey Cup in Calgary. I'm ready to go. You know, it's a blessing in disguise and everything happens for a reason. And I've been through it all."


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