Smilin’ Hank needs to move on

FBO CFL ALOUETTES REDBLACKS 20150807Popeye once said, “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands n’more.”

That is how I now feel about Henry Burris.

For the longest time I considered myself a Henry Burris fan. I always enjoyed watching him play, and I always found his style of play to be very exciting. He could run, he could pass, and he made plays with his arm and his feet. He was everything I liked to see out of a quarterback.

But after these last few weeks, it has become harder and harder to still call myself a fan. He is still a great player and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but he is also, frankly, a whiner and has been his entire career. He is constantly fabricating slights against himself, always feeling the need to be the aggrieved party in any situation. It has becoming tiring listening to Hank come up with reasons to feel slighted.

The latest came today when Burris spent a part of his media availability prior to one of the biggest games of his career, and the unquestioned biggest game in his franchise’s history, drudging up two things that most have long since moved on from: the Simoni Lawrence hit in Week 19 and his departure from Hamilton following the 2013 season.

The Lawrence hit has been gone over plenty of times. If you cheer for the Redblacks, you side with Hank and agree that the hit was low and dirty. If you cheer for the Ticats, you think Burris is just being a baby and that the hit was clean. Full disclosure, I cheer for the Ticats. But the thing working in the favour of the latter is that the league came out not long after and said the hit was perfectly legal. Burris’ continued harping, honestly, comes across as criticism of the league and its officials, and should warrant a fine. When players or coaches call the refs out, they get fined. Burris should get hit in his pocket book for his continued instance that the hit was dirty and illegal despite the league ruling otherwise.

Also, everyone seems to have moved on from the hit and the only one who still thinks it is newsworthy is Henry Burris. But moving on does not seem to be Burris’ strong suit because he still seems to be peeved about his release from the Ticats.

Burris seems to think that this game will serve as a referendum on Hamilton’s decision to release the then-38-year-old pivot after he helped get them to the Grey Cup in 2013. But what Burris seems to be forgetting, or conveniently leaving out, is that the man the Ticats replaced him with will not be playing in this game. Unfortunately, as we all know, Zach Collaros is out of the season with a torn ACL. Without Collaros, the Ticats are not the same team as they are when he is in the lineup. The Ticats started the season 8-3 with Collaros in there, and limped to just two wins in their final seven games without their franchise signal caller. Collaros had, almost inarguably, developed into the league’s best player and that MOP award that Burris will soon win would be getting handed to Collaros if the latter was healthy.

Also, this massive game being held in Ottawa would more than likely be held in Hamilton if Collaros was still playing. The Ticats were rolling with No. 4 at the helm, and while they would not have run the table, they more than likely would have done enough over the final seven weeks of the season to secure home field for the the East Final.

Burris would also be wise to remember that his final season with the Ticats was far from his best as a player. In fact, some people, especially Burris himself, seem to forget is that it took a total team effort to get the Ticats to Regina for that Grey Cup. Kent Austin liberally sprinkled in special packages for his backup quarterbacks, Dan LeFevour and Jeremiah Masoli, during the season, and it was a Masoli package that flummoxed the Alouettes in a Week 18 contest that helped secure the Ticats a home playoff game and it was LeFevour, not Burris, who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Alouettes in the East Semi-Final. The reason those packages were installed is because Burris hardly lit the world on fire. He very much played like a QB on his last legs — and to be fair, he looked even worse last season with Ottawa — and the decision the Ticats made, opting to go with the younger player with more upside, was hardly the foolish one.

Oh, and that Grey Cup that Burris got the Ticats to that made him fell as if he was dumped unceremoniously. Collaros got them to one, too.

Burris really needs to let these things go. The hit was weeks ago and the release was years ago. Why he felt the need to bring it up again, I will never know.

Seriously, Hank, enough is enough.

Move on.

The rest of us have.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.