Kyle Myers | Ticats.ca Staff
HAMILTON -- 2013 has been an unfortunate year for CFL starting quarterbacks.
With Mike Reilly leaving Edmonton’s loss to the Argonauts on Saturday after sustaining a concussion, Henry Burris appears in line to be the only starting pivot not to lose games due to injury this season.
“I’ve definitely gotten some good graces on my side,” he explained. “But it’s being able to prepare my body in the correct fashion in the offseason. For me to be out there for my team I try to over-train.. I’m trying to train for two seasons because that’s what your body feels like at the end of the year.”
Aside from a knee injury in 2003, Hank has managed to stay healthy throughout his career, but what is most impressive is his continued longevity today. At 38 years old, Burris is nearing the twilight of his career healthy as ever, having not missed a game due to injury since 2007.
“Honestly I’ve added on (to my workout regimen),” he said. “I’m lifting heavier than I ever have right now, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I have to prepare this way now because I’m not that guy who can outrun everybody anymore.”
Despite his tireless work ethic, Burris admits there are some drawbacks to playing a young man’s sport in a not-so-young man’s body, but credits the Ticats trainers for keeping him at the top of his game.
“When you get to this age your body takes a little longer to recover and get moving again,” he said. “The support staff here do a great job of keeping things moving smoothly.”
Banks arrives in Tigertown
Brandon Banks is really, really excited about coming to the CFL.
A receiver by position but a returner by trade, Banks spent the past three seasons with the Washington Redskins of the NFL, where he amassed 3,793 total return yards and a touchdown. After being released, Banks says the decision to come to Canada was a no-brainer.
“I’ve travelled all over playing football, it’s nothing new to me,” he said after his first practice with the team on Monday. “I’m happy to be here, learn a new style of football. I think it’s going to benefit me with the skills that I have.”
Banks is a burner, with recorded 40-yard dash times under 4.4 seconds and the quickness to make defenders miss in the open field. Coach Austin believes that speed will be of great use to the Ticats in the return game, as well as on offence.
“He’s an explosive returner… really explosive,” said Austin. “He’s got great ball skills and brings an element to our return game and our offence that’s been lacking.”
Monday was a whirlwind for Banks as he adjusted to differences between the American and Canadian games. But far from a negative, Banks saw the adjustments as a chance for him to thrive for the Ticats.
“The halo rule, that the guys have to give you five yards (on a punt return), that’s a rule I’m really, really going to like,” he said.
“Also I was watching tape on my way up here and noticed a lot of times I got pushed out of bounds at the last minute. I was thinking with the wide field, that won’t happen here.”
At just 5’7" and 153 pounds, Banks was the smallest position player in the NFL, and will surely rank among the smallest in the CFL as well. But it’s nothing new for the Kansas State product, as size has been an obstacle his entire life.
“Every league I ever played in, every sport I ever played I’ve been the smallest,” he said. “I’ve got love for the game of football. It doesn’t matter if you’re big, small, fast, slow, strong, I’m just out there competing with the other guys.”