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Henry Burris, Jr. (born June 4, 1975 in Spiro, Oklahomamarker) is a professional Canadian and former American football player. Burris plays the quarterback position with the Canadian Football League Calgary Stampeders. Burris spent one year as a reserve quarterback for the National Football League's Chicago Bears. Burris is also known as "Smilin' Hank" for his broad, perpetual grin.

Early life

Burris attended Spiro High School in Spiro, Oklahomamarker, and won four varsity letters each in football, track, basketball, and baseball. In football, he was named the Oklahoma Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.

Burris attended Temple Universitymarker and finished with 20 passing records.

Professional 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.

He returned to form in 2004, leading the Roughriders to the 2004 Western Final, narrowly missing advancing to the Grey Cup. The Roughriders lost the Western Final in overtime to the favored BC Lions.

In the off-season Burris rejected the Roughriders' contract offer in order to re-join the Calgary Stampeders despite stating repeatedly that he had no interest in leaving Saskatchewan before the Riders won a Grey Cup. In 2005 he took the Stampeders to the Western Semifinal where they lost at McMahon Stadiummarker to Ricky Ray and Jason Maas of the Edmonton Eskimos. In 2006 he once again helped the Stampeders advance to the CFL playoffs, hosting their second home playoff game in as many years, but lost in the West Semifinal to his former team, the Roughriders.

In the 2007 playoffs the Stampeders once again faced off against the Roughriders in the Western Semifinal (this time played at Mosaic Stadiummarker in Reginamarker, the Roughriders having hosted a home playoff game for the first time since 1988), and would once again ended up losing to his former team in a close 26-24 affair.

In 2008, Burris won his first championship, leading the Calgary Stampeders to a 22-14 Grey Cup victory, over the host Montreal Alouettes. Burris also captured the title of Grey Cup Most Valuable Player and was a finalist for the league's most outstanding player award.

Career CFL and NFL statistics

Season Team League Passing Rushing
Games Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rate Att Yds TD
1998 Calgary CFL 18 5 11 45.5 83 0 1 33.5 2 4 0
1999 Calgary CFL 5 36 60 60 529 4 4 83.3 13 81 0
2000 Saskatchewan CFL 18 308 576 53.5 4647 30 25 79.6 68 188 8
2001 Green Bay NFL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2002 Chicago NFL 6 18 51 35.3 207 3 5 28.4 15 104 0
2003 Saskatchewan CFL 10 11 24 45.8 130 1 0 76.7 2 16 0
2004 Saskatchewan CFL 18 322 544 59.2 4267 23 18 84.4 84 464 7
2005 Calgary CFL 16 265 435 60.9 4290 23 12 100.1 82 513 9
2006 Calgary CFL 18 305 537 56.8 4453 23 18 84.3 70 480 5
2007 Calgary CFL 15 285 471 60.5 4279 34 14 102.0 84 623 5
2008 Calgary CFL 18 381 591 64.4 5093 39 14 103.8 87 595 3
1998–present Career CFL 136 1918 3249 59.0 27771 177 106 91.5 492 2964 37

  • Games mean "Dressed For", not "Played In"

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