Heupel replaces Burris

Henry Burris is out and Josh Heupel is in. The Green Bay Packers announced on Thursday that they agreed to terms of a contract with Heupel, who led the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship in 2000.<p>

The left-handed Heupel, 23, was taken in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, but injured his left wrist during the preseason. He was placed on injured reserve last Aug. 29, then agreed to an injury settlement on Sept. 18 and was waived.

Heupel set Oklahoma career records for attempts (933), completions (590) and touchdown passes (50), while throwing for 6,852 yards. He led the nation in passing percentage (65.8) as a senior, completing 280 of 433 attempts for 3,392 yards and 20 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. "We're going off of what we saw in college," said Reggie McKenzie, Packers pro personnel director, to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Burris reportedly signed on with the Chicago Bears. The Packers had exclusive rights to re-sign Burris, a former Canadian Football League star, through Jan. 28, but Burris opted to sign with a team where he feels he'll have a shot to compete for at least a backup spot.

"He told us he was just looking for a better opportunity than he got last year," Bears director of pro personnel Bobby DePaul told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We're fortunate to get him, and it's not like it cost a lot.

"He's a good fit here. He's got a great personality. He's got the arm strength. I don't think anybody really knows what he is exactly. He may be just another guy or he may be someone who will develop."

Burris, who starred for Saskatchewan of the CFL, signed a three-year, $921,000 deal with the Packers last February. But the 26 year old was the Packers' No. 3 quarterback behind Brett Favre and Doug Pederson for the first 10 weeks of the regular season, then placed on the practice squad for the next eight games.

Burris never got many chances in practice during training camp last year nor in the preseason because the Packers brought in Billy Joe Tolliver to compete with Doug Pederson for the No. 2 backup spot.

"When I came down here, I thought I had a chance to compete," Burris told the Regina Leader-Post last month. "That's what I wanted, but I'm not going to hold a grudge. If what was said at the beginning of the year came through, things wouldn't be like this."

Heupel, an Aberdeen, S. D. native, was consensus first-team All-America, All-Big 12 Conference and runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 2000. He also was named The Sporting News, CBS Sports and Associated Press Player of the Year, as well as the recipient of the Walter Camp Foundation National Player of the Year Award.

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