Henry Burris beats Bo Levi Mitchell for CFL most outstanding player honours

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris was named the CFL's most outstanding player on Thursday in Winnipeg, site of this Sunday's 103rd Grey Cup between the Edmonton Eskimos and Redblacks.

Redblacks pivot topped league in passing yards, among other stats

Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris poses for photographs after winning the CFL's most outstanding player award and Tom Pate memorial award for community service during the Canadian Football League awards in Winnipeg on Thursday night. Burris led Ottawa to a 12-6 record and first-place finish in the East Division, registering a CFL-record 481 completions and league-high 5,693 passing yards. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Henry Burris and the Ottawa Redblacks dominated the CFL awards banquet Thursday night in Winnipeg.

The 40-year-old quarterback was named the outstanding player for the second time in his 16-year career and received the Tom Pate award for community service.

Burris also shared the spotlight at the Club Regent Casino with Ottawa coach Rick Campbell (coach of the year), receiver Brad Sinopoli (top Canadian) and offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers.

Campbell's father, Hugh, was coach of the year in 1979 with Edmonton, making the Campbells the first father-and-son winners in CFL history.

With his parents, wife and two young sons looking on, Burris immediately paid tribute to family.

"To go through the tough first season trying to build a new product in the capital city, we went through a lot of heartache," he said. "That's stuff that can be hard on a family at home.

"For my wife, Nicole, to be able to handle all the stresses of raising two knucklehead sons by herself, I mean, wow. She's my rock, she makes me the man I am today and when I was being a knucklehead myself she stood by my side throughout this entire journey."

On Sunday, Burris and Co. face the Edmonton Eskimos in the Grey Cup game (6:30 p.m. ET). Voting for the awards was conducted by 75 members of the Football Reporters of Canada.

The bottom line is I couldn't do this without my teammates, I can't do this without the coaching staff, I can't do this without the personnel staff, our owners, fans.- Redblacks QB Henry Burris after being named CFL's most outstanding player

Burris posted a CFL-record 481 completions this year and led the league in passing with 5,703 yards in collecting his second career outstanding player award. He won his first in 2010 with Calgary. Burris also led the CFL in pass attempts, completion percentage, second down conversions, 30-plus yard completions and 300-yard passing games.

Burris helped Ottawa (12-6) engineer an amazing turnaround, finishing stop the East Division standings after winning just two games in its inaugural 2-14 campaign. This season, Burris had twice as many TD passes (26) as interceptions after throwing more picks (14) than touchdowns (11) last year.

"The bottom line is I couldn't do this without my teammates, I can't do this without the coaching staff, I can't do this without the personnel staff, our owners, fans," Burris said. "To bring in a guy like [offensive co-ordinator] Jason Maas, a guy who was my adversary, my foe for so many years … whoever thought he was the best thing in disguise for me waiting to happen in the future.

"It's been an amazing journey for me this year on probably one of the best teams I've ever played for and one of the best group of guys I've ever played with. That's what the power of team can be all about because a quarterback can't do it all by himself."

Quaterback Bo Levi Mitchell of the Calgary Stampeders was the finalist. The 2014 Grey Cup MVP completed 65.6 per cent of his passes and finished second to Burris in passing yards (4,551).

The other award winners include:

  • Most outstanding defensive player: Adam Bighill, LB, B.C. — He becomes the second straight Lion to be named top defensive player after teammate Solomon Elimimian won it last year as well as the CFL's outstanding player award. Bighill recorded a CFL- and career-high 117 tackles this season while adding four sacks, an interception and fumble recovery. Linebacker Simoni Lawrence of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was the finalist.
  • Most outstanding Canadian: Brad Sinopoli, WR, Ottawa — The Peterborough, Ont., native beat out defensive end Jamaal Westerman of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A former Hec Crighton Trophy-winning quarterback at the University of Ottawa, Sinopoli was the CFL's top Canadian receiver with 1,035 yards on 86 receptions with a league-high 471 yards after the catch in his first season with the Redblacks.

  • Most outstanding offensive lineman: SirVincent Rogers, OL, Ottawa — The six-foot-four, 319-pound Rogers was a key off-season pickup for Ottawa, starting all 18 games at left tackle protecting quarterback Henry Burris's blind side. Jovan Olafioye of B.C., the 2012 award winner, was the finalist.

  • Most outstanding special teams player: Brandon Banks, WR/KR, Hamilton — Banks had four punt-return TDs, one shy of the league mark. The five-foot-seven 153-pound dynamo was third overall in all-purpose yards (2,073) and punt return yards (930) and became the first CFL player to return a missed convert for a score. Calgary kicker Rene Paredes was the finalist.

  • Most outstanding rookie: Derel Walker, WR, Edmonton — Walker enjoyed a stellar first season with 89 catches (Edmonton rookie record) for 1,110 yards and six TDs despite playing only 12 games (10 starts). Toronto's Vidal Hazelton was the finalist with 70 catches for 803 yards and six touchdowns.

  • Jake Gaudaur veterans' trophy: Jeff Perrett, OT, Montreal.

  • Hugh Campbell distinguished leadership award: Bob Irving

  • The commisioner's award: Bernie Custis — In 1951, the 87-year-old became pro football's first black starting quarterback with Hamilton.

Buckley wins 2nd Hec Crighton

Also Thursday, Calgary Dinos quarterback Andrew Buckley ended his university football career in style, taking a second straight Hec Crighton Trophy as the outstanding player in Canadian Interuniversity Sport football.

Buckley set a CIS record with 3,162 passing yards in conference play, with 19 touchdowns and only one interception. He also rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Dinos to an 8-0 season.

Buckley, a Calgary Stampeders draft pick who hopes to make it in the pros and earn a medical degree, joined Saint Mary's quarterback Chris Flynn (1988, 1989, 1990), Western fullback Tim Tindale (1991, 1993), Mount Allison running back Eric Lapointe (1996, 1998), Queen's quarterback Tommy Denison (2002, 2003), and Glavic, who claimed the honour with Saint Mary's (2007) and Calgary (2009), as a multiple Hec Crighton winner.


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