Henry Burris has never shied away from setting lofty goals and that hasn’t changed since he left Canada to start a coaching career in the NFL. His latest goal is to become an NFL head coach.
“You never know what you can truly achieve in life until you take a chance and I’m taking that chance,” Burris told Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post. “One of my dreams — that could definitely come true — is to be an NFL head coach.”
“I knew that I wanted to be a head coach at some point in my life, but I always told myself that it would be later in high school later in life. I definitely couldn’t say no to the opportunity to lead some of the best athletes in the world in doing what they do. It’s not only helping make them better athletes, but helping make them be better people in general.”
Burris is an offensive quality control coach with the Chicago Bears after joining the club in 2020 through the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. He is part of a staff that includes fourth-year head coach Matt Nagy and veteran offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
The 46-year-old initially pursued broadcasting after retiring as a player in January 2017 and served as a host on CTV Morning Live in Ottawa for two years. He then pivoted to the CFL on TSN where he worked as an analyst on the same panel he once told to “shove it” as well as performing spot play-by-play duties.
Burris revealed that he received interest from CFL teams regarding potential coaching roles after the 2019 Grey Cup but didn’t feel ready to jump back into the game post-retirement due to family commitments. After having three years to spend more time with his wife and sons post-retirement, Burris decided the opportunity with Chicago was too good to pass up.
The catch is that the Bears had a disappointing season and sit well out of postseason contention in the NFC North at 6-10. It’s likely that Nagy and most of his staff will be fired following the club’s regular season finale on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Burris was on an expiring contract with Chicago anyway, which means his future remains unclear.
“I have to figure out what’s next,” said Burris. “Once the season’s over, I’ll reach out to people and see if there’s any interest out there.
“All you can hope for is that you put your best foot forward and worked your butt off. Hopefully that impressed people along the way and showed them that you’re going to do whatever it takes to help the team, the staff and the group out. It’s about bringing added value to the table for us to be successful each and every week and hopefully I did that.”
Burris threw for 63,227 yards and 374 touchdowns over a 17-year CFL career with Saskatchewan, Calgary, Hamilton, and Ottawa. He was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2010 and 2015 and won three Grey Cups, two of which came as a starter. He was also a first-ballot inductee into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, getting the call in 2020.