December 6, 2022

Hanging up the Cleats: Burnham announces retirement

Trevor Hagan/

VANCOUVER — One of the BC Lions’ all-time greatest players and individuals is hanging up the cleats. Receiver Bryan Burnham announced his retirement on Tuesday morning after a remarkable eight-year career with the franchise that brought plenty of highlight-reel plays and clutch moments that Lions fans will cherish forever.

“It has been an honour to have spent my entire professional career with the BC 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 from his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“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.”

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Burnham’s Lion career was set in motion after an impressive performance at a Seattle free agent camp in May 2014 that led to a training camp invitation. The rest, as they say, is history.

After earning a practice roster spot while being assigned the non-traditional receiver number of 74, Burnham made his professional debut on September 19 of that 2014 campaign and would become a fixture in the lineup the following season.

Bryan Burnham will go down as one of the best players and ultimate professionals to wear the Lion colours,” added co-GM 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 BC 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.”

Added co-GM/head coach Rick Campbell: “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.”

A four-time CFL All-Star, five-time West Division All-star selection and 2019 team finalist for CFL Most Outstanding Player, Burnham would go on to suit up in 105 regular season contests with the Lions and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top receivers and biggest highlight-reel machines.

Burnham is fourth on the Lions’ all-time list with 476 receptions and 7,212 receiving yards while his 42 touchdown receptions are good for sixth amongst all-time Lion receivers.


Additional Burnham nuggets:

  • 1st touchdown reception: September 19, 2014 against Toronto on a pass from Kevin Glenn.
  • Last touchdown reception: November 6, 2022 in the Western Semi-Final against Calgary on a pass from Nathan Rourke.
  • Outside of this year’s Western Semi-Final, the only other playoff touchdown Burnham hauled in was in the 2016 Western Semi-Final win over Winnipeg on a toss from Jonathon Jennings.
  • Burnham’s career playoff stats: 16 receptions for 243 yards and two touchdowns in six total games.
  • Recorded at least one catch in every one of his 105 regular season appearances for the Lions.
  • Caught regular season touchdowns from a total of seven Lion quarterbacks in his career: Jonathon Jennings (13 total), Michael Reilly (12 total), Travis Lulay (8 total), Nathan Rourke (6 total) and a single touchdown reception each from Kevin Glenn (2014), Danny O’Brien (2019) and Brandon Bridge (2019).
  • Recorded at least one touchdown in nine different CFL venues: did not ever record one at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium (outside of pre-season) but had one at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in the Lions’ last ever visit there in October of 2015. Burnham had at least one touchdown catch in every other current stadium across the CFL besides Edmonton.
  • Suited up in career regular season game number 100 in a victory at Calgary on August 13 of 2022. Celebrated in style with a touchdown reception and a clutch catch on third down to keep the game alive as the Lions were driving for the winning points late in the fourth quarter.
  • Moved past ‘Swervin’ Mervyn Fernandez into fourth in Lions all-time receiving yards in a home win over Edmonton on August 6.
  • Burnham’s most productive season came in 2019 when he amassed 100 receptions for 1,492 yards and 11 touchdowns, all career-highs, while earning the team nomination for CFL Most Outstanding Player.
  • Recorded four consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards from 2016-19 and still managed to haul in 965 yards in the 2021 season that was shortened to 14 regular season games. Proving his toughness, Burnham did not miss a game in 2021 despite suffering a broken hand in Hamilton during the club’s 12th regular season contest.
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