Five-time all-star Bryan Burnham retires after eight seasons with B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

Bryan Burnham has announced his retirement from the CFL after eight seasons with the B.C. Lions.

“It has been an honour to have spent my entire professional career with the B.C. Lions. This amazing franchise gave me the opportunity to continue my football journey. This is the product of hard work, sacrifice and love for the game,” said Burnham in a statement.

“I was always told to find my passion in life and chase it. Football was always my passion. I realize now that I have new passions: my wife and these kids are my passion. That’s what I’m going to chase now. I have so much love for the city of Surrey, city of Vancouver, province and British Columbia and for all of Canada. The CFL gave me an opportunity to truly live out my childhood dream of being a professional football player.”

The 32-year-old signed with the Lions in May 2014 and dressed for two games as a rookie, making six receptions. He soon became one of the league’s best targets, making 79 catches for 1,392 yards and three touchdowns in a breakout season in 2016 and being named a West Division all-star for the first time.

“Bryan Burnham will go down as one of the best players and ultimate professionals to wear the Lion colours,” said co-general manager and director of football operations Neil McEvoy.

“Watching him scrap and claw his way onto a roster that included plenty of great contributors at his position speaks to his overall character and commitment to the game of football. Both the B.C. Lions and Canadian Football League were better off for having him. His contributions both on the field and in the community were second to none.”

Burnham was named a CFL all-star for the first time in 2017 after making 81 receptions for 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns. He had two more 1,000-yard seasons, including a career-best 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019.

“I have coached many great players in my career and Bryan ranks up there with the best. It was an honour to work with him the past two seasons. Bryan’s commitment and approach to getting better each and every day was something that he passed onto many of his teammates and the young players who broke in after him,” said co-general manager and head coach Rick Campbell.

The Tulsa product finished his career with 476 catches for 7,212 yards and 42 touchdowns. He ranks fourth all-time in B.C. history in receptions and receiving yardage and seventh all-time in touchdown receptions. He was a four-time CFL all-star and five-time West Division all-star selection.

He and his wife, Aubrey, reside in Oklahoma with their adopted children.