Henry Burris spurned Winnipeg to sign with first-year Ottawa on Tuesday (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)
An enduring friendship and the desire to finish his CFL career closer to the northeast U.S. led to Henry Burris picking Ottawa over Winnipeg. The fact the first-year Redblacks, for whom "expansion team" is a dirty word, were willing to commit to a three-year contract for a quarterback who will soon turn 39 years old likely played into it as well.
In what will inevitably be taken as a telling moment about the state of both franchises, Burris has opted to sign with a first-year team rather than join the beleaguered Blue Bombers who finished a league-worst 3-15 in 2013. The veteran pivot who steered the young Hamilton Tiger-Cats' cubs to a Grey Cup berth last November ("we had the youngest team in the league on both sides of the ball, I was changing Pampers day in and day out," he quipped) is starting all over again.
"Players across the league are talking about all the serious intentions of the Ottawa franchise," said Burris, who threw for a CFL-high 4,925 yards last season on a league-high 567 attempts. "Mr. [Jeff] Hunt and the [Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group] ownership group and all the qualities that group brings to the table. You want to talk instant accreditation it doesn't get better than that.
"This move reminds me of when I went to Calgary with new local owners, John Forzani, took over. Look how successful that organization’s been. It’s no longer a dog-and-pony show out there. The same thing will happen here. You have a group who have come together to make the best entertainment product for the fans in Ottawa, who truly deserve it.
"I know for me this will be my last contract," Burris added. "The way we wanted to do it was our way. To do it with the Redblacks was definitely the way to go. There’s no better way to close this thing out."
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