Ottawa Redblacks
Rouge et Noir d'Ottawa
Team logo
Based inOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Home fieldTD Place
Head coachBob Dyce
General managerShawn Burke
Owner(s)Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group
LeagueCanadian Football League
DivisionEast Division
ColoursRed, black, white[1][2][3]
Mascot(s)Big Joe/Grand Jos
Grey Cup win(s)1 (2016) Edit this at Wikidata
Current uniform
Current sports event2024 Ottawa Redblacks season

The Ottawa Redblacks (officially stylized as REDBLACKS)[4] (French: Rouge et Noir d'Ottawa)[5] are a professional Canadian football team based in Ottawa, Ontario. The team plays in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Starting play in 2014, the Redblacks are the third CFL team to play in the city of Ottawa. The Ottawa Rough Riders, formed in 1876, were a founding member of the CFL in 1958 and played until 1996. A new Ottawa franchise was formed as the Renegades in 2002 and lasted until the end of the 2005 season.[6] The Redblacks won the 2016 Grey Cup Championship, which ended a 40-year Grey Cup championship drought for the city of Ottawa.[7]


See also: List of Ottawa Redblacks seasons

Following the 1996 season, years of ownership and management issues resulted in the Ottawa Rough Riders franchise folding after a storied 120 years. A CFL franchise in Ottawa was absent for the next five years until 2002, when football returned with new ownership and a new team name, the Ottawa Renegades. Ownership and management controversies soon overtook the new franchise[8] and the Renegades abruptly ceased operations prior to the 2006 CFL season. The league liquidated the Renegades roster in a dispersal draft and placed the Ottawa CFL franchise up for sale, with the intention of eventually returning to the city.[9]

Legislative and construction hurdles to new franchise

On March 25, 2008, Jeff Hunt, the owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's, spearheaded a group that was awarded a franchise. The team planned to begin play in 2010, but cracks in the concrete structure in the south stands of Frank Clair Stadium led to the demolition of those stands and delayed the start of team operations. The league then set a new date of 2013 for the team's debut, but lawsuits forced the delay of reconstruction of the stadium to be pushed back even further.[10] The team and league then announced plans to play at a remodelled Frank Clair Stadium—now called TD Place Stadium—by 2014 if construction remained on schedule.[11][12][13] In 2008, the franchise was conditionally awarded the right to host the 2014 Grey Cup game,[14] but the owners preferred to postpone the game for a few years to give the franchise a better chance to play in the championship game.[11] In any event, after lawsuits and delays, the stadium renovations were not completed until 2014.[10] Hosting the Grey Cup is a condition included in the agreement of franchise ownership.[15] A CA$7-million franchise fee was reported to have been paid to the CFL.[6]

Concurrently, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had announced plans to bid for a Major League Soccer franchise to play in Ottawa, intending to build a new soccer-specific stadium near the Senators' Scotiabank Place (now Canadian Tire Centre) in support of that plan. Questions arose about the stadium's suitability for football in place of the aging Frank Clair Stadium. However, the CFL and MLS groups could not come to any agreement on coordinating their plans. Furthermore, municipal officials questioned whether the city could support both CFL and MLS franchises.[16]

The north-side stands of TD Place at Lansdowne Park

In April 2009, the staff of the city of Ottawa presented a report to the city council on the merits of the soccer stadium and Lansdowne Park proposals. The city held public hearings based on the report, which questioned the necessity of the spending but gave a slight edge to the Lansdowne proposal. Councillors attempted to learn whether the SSE group would support sharing their stadium with a planned CFL franchise, but the SSE group rejected such a possibility. Consequently, on April 22, 2009, the city council chose the Lansdowne proposal over the SSE proposal as its choice for an outdoor stadium. Negotiations were conducted over the next several months, leading to an August 26 presentation to the council so that it could decide the fate of football in Ottawa in the foreseeable future.[citation needed]

On November 12 and 13, the council held a public debate to discuss what should be done with the area at Lansdowne Park. Guest speakers included CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon and former Rough Riders Jock Climie and Mark Kosmos, who presented their case as to why the Lansdowne Live group was an important contributor to the city of Ottawa.[17] The following Monday, November 16, it was reported that the council had voted 15–9 in favour of plans to redevelop Lansdowne Park to house a CFL team.[18] The ownership group was given until June 2010 to sort out the details of the redevelopment, with construction set to begin in the spring of 2011.[citation needed]

On June 28, 2010, after a twelve-hour meeting, the city council approved the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park by the same 15–9 vote, all but securing a franchise in the nation's capital.[11][12] With construction on the stadium scheduled to begin in 2011, the earliest the team would have been able to play was 2013 under the original timeline.[19] However, a failed legal challenge and an Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Lansdowne Park redevelopment project delayed the start of construction until 2013[20] with completion targeted for the summer of 2015, although there were indications that the stadium could be opened for football as early as 2014.[10] Without a viable stadium, the debut of the team was necessarily pushed back accordingly.[15]

On October 10, 2012, the new franchise cleared its final political hurdle with a 21–3 vote by the city council in favour of Lansdowne.[21] Construction on the north and south side stands was set to begin in October 2012.[22]

Start of football operations (2013)

On January 30, 2013, Marcel Desjardins was named the first general manager in Redblacks history.[23] Desjardins named former Montreal Alouettes scouting director and New York Jets pro scout Brock Sunderland as his assistant GM in late May 2013.[24] On December 6, 2013, Desjardins hired Rick Campbell as the team's first head coach. Campbell is the son of former Edmonton Eskimos coaching legend Hugh Campbell, who coached the team to five consecutive Grey Cups from 1978 to 1982.[25]

One year before the new Ottawa club hit the field for the 2014 CFL season, it was allowed to draft four NCAA junior redshirts (players who would participate in the 2013 NCAA football season) as part of the 2013 CFL Draft. The draft took place on May 6, 2013, when Ottawa had the last pick in the first four rounds of the draft (9th, 18th, 27th and 36th overall selections). The team selected Nolan MacMillan from Iowa, Connor Williams from Utah State, Kalonji Kashama from Eastern Michigan and Tyler Digby from Robert Morris.[26]

The 2013 CFL Expansion Draft was a three-round CFL draft held on December 16, 2013, in which players from existing CFL teams were assigned to the new Ottawa team. The structure of the draft was announced on January 19, 2011, which involved one round for selecting import players and two rounds for selecting non-import players.[27] Ottawa selected three players from each of the eight existing teams for a total of 24 players. The team was allowed to select eight import players and 16 non-import players with quarterbacks, kickers and punters eligible within their respective import/non-import categories. Ottawa was permitted to select a maximum of two quarterbacks and one kicker/punter, but not to select any two of these three players from the same team. CFL commissioner Mark Cohon was authorized to resolve any dispute related to player eligibility for the Expansion Draft process.[28] The selections were announced live on the CFL's official website on December 16, 2013.[29]

First season (2014)

The progress of construction at TD Place Stadium, September 27, 2013

On July 3, 2014, the Ottawa Redblacks played their first regular-season game, a road match against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions in the opening quarter, but ultimately losing 36–28.[30] On July 18, 2014, the Redblacks earned their first regular-season win at their home opener by a score of 18–17 over the Toronto Argonauts.[31] The Redblacks, like most expansion teams, struggled during the whole season, and finished last in both the East Division and the league with a 2–16 record.[32]

Young contenders (2015–2018)

In their second season, the Redblacks brought in significant talent to improve the offence. The result was a greatly improved team that won eight of its last 10 regular-season games, finishing with a record of 12–6 to finish atop the East Division and clinch a first-round bye.[33] It was the first regular-season division title for an Ottawa-based team since 1978. On November 22, 2015, the Redblacks defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35–28 in the East Final to advance to the 103rd Grey Cup. In doing so, they became the first Ottawa CFL team to reach the Grey Cup since the 1981 Rough Riders. They also became the second-youngest team to reach a Grey Cup final, bettered only by the 1994 Baltimore CFLers. In their first-ever Grey Cup appearance, the Redblacks lost 26–20 to the Edmonton Eskimos.[34]

The Redblacks struggled during the following season, finishing with an 8–9–1 record. However, the East Division was so weak that season, the Redblacks won their second consecutive division title—and with it, a bye into the East Final. Because of the CFL's crossover playoff format, Ottawa faced the Western Division's Edmonton Eskimos, winning 35–23.[35][36] In the Grey Cup, the Redblacks won the franchise's first championship—and the first for an Ottawa-based team in 40 years—by defeating the heavily favored Calgary Stampeders 39–33 in only the third Grey Cup game in history to go into overtime.[37]

The Redblacks went into the 2017 season with high hopes as defending champions. Despite losing Henry Burris to retirement and key contributors such as Kienan LaFrance and Ernest Jackson to free agency, the Redblacks finished the season with another 8-9-1 record, which was good enough for second place in the East Division, behind the Toronto Argonauts. The Redblacks struggled with injuries and inconsistent play throughout the course of the season. Their quest for a second consecutive Grey Cup fell short as the team lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which crossed over to play the Redblacks in the East Division semifinal.[38] The Redblacks returned to form in 2018, winning their third divisional title in four years. After defeating the Tiger-Cats in the East Final, they advanced to the 106th Grey Cup game, where they were defeated by the Calgary Stampeders, which were making their third consecutive Grey Cup appearance.[39]

Campbell and Desjardins move on (2019–2021)

The 2019 season was one to forget for the Redblacks. The team lost their main offensive stars, Trevor Harris and Greg Ellingson, in free agency as both players signed with the Edmonton Eskimos. The team's offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo resigned in mid-April to take a job with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL and was replaced two weeks later by former Renegades head coach Joe Paopao, who served as the team's running backs coach and offensive playcaller. Their quarterbacking position was in flux for most of the season as Jonathon Jennings, Dominique Davis, and Will Arndt all spent time under centre.

Midway through the season, with the offense sputtering, Campbell turned over the role of offensive play-calling to Paopao, changing his role with the team from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach in the process.[40] After a 2–0 start, the team lost four in a row and capped off the season by losing 11 consecutive games, finishing the year at 3–15, good enough for fourth in the East, and ninth place overall in the CFL. Following the season, Campbell and the Redblacks mutually agreed to part ways.[41]

On December 7, 2019, the Redblacks hired former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice as the second head coach in franchise history.[42] Following a record of 3–15 in 2019 and the team being eliminated from playoff contention in 2021 with a record of 2–9, the Redblacks fired general manager Marcel Desjardins on October 25, 2021.[43]

Team name

Initially, Hunt hoped to revive the Rough Riders name. Almost as soon as they won the franchise, Hunt and his group made contact with previous Rough Riders owner Horn Chen regarding the name, and they were well aware of Chen's asking price for the Rough Riders logo and wordmarks.[44] The Rough Riders name was still popular among former players and football fans in Ottawa.[45] The Rough Riders played for 120 years, during which time they played for the Grey Cup 15 times, winning nine.[46] However, in July 2010, the ownership group announced that while they had acquired the Rough Riders intellectual properties—including their trademarks—from Chen, the Rough Riders name likely would not be returning because of objections from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.[47]

On December 6, 2012, the CFL opened six days of voting for the new name on The team was speculated to be called the Rush, but this was later debunked.[48] The Rush name was nonetheless included in a list of five potential names (along with Nationals, Voyageurs, Redblacks, and Raftsmen) in a focus group led by the team's owners in January 2013.[49]

On May 30, 2013, the website reported that the ownership group had filed copyright protection for the nickname "Redblacks" (and its French equivalent, Rouge et Noir) with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.[50] On June 8, 2013, the team confirmed it would be known as the Ottawa Redblacks. On the same day, the team also revealed its logo—an italicized version of the block "R" that had appeared on the Rough Riders' helmets from 1975 to 1991 (with artistic ink traps) surrounded by a red outline inside a black saw blade.[51] The home uniforms were predominantly black, with white numerals and red-and-white trim. The road uniforms were white, with red numerals and red-and-black trim.

For record-keeping, the CFL now recognizes all three Ottawa-based clubs that played in the CFL or the league's predecessors—the Rough Riders (known as the Ottawa Football Club from 1876 to 1898 and the Ottawa Senators from 1926 to 1930), the Renegades and the Redblacks—as "a single entity" dating to 1876, with "two intervals of nonparticipation (1997–2001 & 2006–2013)."[52]


Based on their nearby geography the traditional Ottawa rivalry is with the Montreal Alouettes, whom they often play in the Labour Day Classic, and Montreal is part of the divisional rivalry with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts. Although separated by distance and division, the Calgary Stampeders have emerged as a main rival of the Redblacks franchise.[53]

Honoured players

Retired numbers

On July 18, 2014, at halftime of the first home game in franchise history, the Redblacks announced they would be retiring all 10 jersey numbers previously retired by the Ottawa Rough Riders.[54] The club has stated that they will not retire numbers in the future due to a limitation of number availability among certain positions.[55]

Ottawa Redblacks retired numbers[54]
No. Player Position Tenure Championships
11 Ron Stewart RB 1958–1970 1960, 1968, 1969
12 Russ Jackson QB 1958–1969 1960, 1968, 1969
26 Whit Tucker WR 1962–1970 1968, 1969
40 Bruno Bitkowski C/DE 1951–1962 1951, 1960
60 Jim Coode OT 1974–1980 1976
62 Moe Racine OT/K 1958–1974 1960, 1968, 1969, 1973
70 Bobby Simpson FW/E/DB 1950–1962 1951, 1960
71 Gerry Organ K/P/WR 1971–1983 1973, 1976
72 Tony Golab FW/HB 1939–1941
77 Tony Gabriel TE 1975–1981 1976

Wall of Honour

All 10 retired numbers are featured on the club's Wall of Honour in the stadium.[55] Additionally, Henry Burris was added to the Wall on September 9, 2017, at halftime in a game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.[56] On September 10, 2019, the CFL Ottawa Alumni Association Board of Directors announced they had assigned a committee to select former Ottawa players to be added to the Wall of Honour with a goal of adding more in future years.[55] In that same announcement, the club revealed that Kaye Vaughan would be the 12th member added to the Wall of Honour.[55]

Ottawa Redblacks Wall of Honour additions[54]
No. Player Position Tenure Championships
1 Henry Burris QB 2014–2016 2016
55 Kaye Vaughan OT/OG/DT 1953–1964 1960




Running backs


Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Italics indicate American player • Bold indicates Global player • 93 Roster
Roster updated 2024-02-23 • Depth chartTransactionsMore CFL rosters


Front Office
  • Owner – Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG)
  • Chief Executive Officer – Mark Goudie
  • General Manager – Shawn Burke
  • Assistant General Manager – Jeremy Snyder
  • Director of Pro Personnel – Brendan Taman
  • Director of Canadian Scouting & Football Analytics – Chad Hudson
  • Pro/College Scout – Philippe Moreau
  • Video Coordinator – Braun Gheller

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Tommy Condell
  • Offensive Line – Pat Perles
  • Receivers – Travis Moore
  • Running Backs – Nate Taylor
  • Coaches' Assistant – Nadia Doucoure

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning Coordinator – Nick Mercuri

Coaching Staff
More CFL staffs



Main article: Big Joe (mascot)

The Redblacks' mascot is a lumberjack whose original name, "Big Joe Mufferaw", was revealed by the team on March 28, 2014. The name, which came from online suggestions, was an acknowledgement to the Big Joe Mufferaw folk legend popularized in several works of fiction (most notably by Ottawa native Bernie Bedore) and in songs by Stompin' Tom Connors.[57] After the Redblacks received some criticism for the Mufferaw name, the team announced on March 31 that the mascot would go by the name "Big Joe" (or "Grand Jos" in French).[58]


The Ottawa Redblacks Cheer and Dance Team made its debut at the Redblacks' first home game at TD Place Stadium on July 17, 2014.[59] The team is composed of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35, with two spirit teams of 25 cheerleaders and 25 dancers.[60] The coed cheerleading team consists of athletes from various all-star, varsity, performance, and competitive cheerleading backgrounds. During games, the cheerleading team executes stunt routines and acrobatics on the field and the sidelines. The dance team is composed of females from a variety of dance disciplines. The team also performs on the field during game stoppages and participates in pregame activities. The program directors are Lisa Aucoin and Kenny Feeley,[61] and the dance team's head coach is Melany Morrison.[61]

On game days, members of the cheer and dance teams participate in “gameday cheering/dancing, halftime performances, pregame shows, [and] gameday promotions”.[62] Members are involved in various community events, charity functions and corporate appearances in the Ottawa region.[62]

The team offers a junior program for cheerleaders and dancers between the ages of six and 16.[63] The four-week program includes instruction and coaching by members of the team.[63]

See also


  1. ^ "Ottawa Redblacks Club Profile & History" (PDF). 2021 CFL Guide & Record Book (PDF). CFL Enterprises LP. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 5, 2021. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  2. ^ "Club Directory" (PDF). Ottawa Redblacks 2016 Media Guide (PDF). CFL Enterprises LP. July 26, 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Campbell, Barre (May 6, 2014). "WHAT A LOOK! REDBLACKS CREATE BUZZ WITH NEW UNIFORMS". CFL Enterprises LP. Retrieved February 21, 2021. The uniform mixes the classic look of Ottawa football in red, black and white with bold new styling, which includes jerseys with numbering based on the team's saw-blade logo, paying tribute to the history of the lumber industry in Ottawa-Gatineau.
  4. ^ "Ottawa officially announces REDBLACKS as team name". CFL Enterprises LP. June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Le Rouge et Noir voit officiellement le jour à Ottawa". Site officiel de la Ligue canadienne de football. June 8, 2013. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Group pays millions to bring CFL back to Ottawa". CTV News Ottawa. March 25, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008. A group of investors has agreed to pay the Canadian Football League a $7 million fee to bring a new CFL franchise to Ottawa
  7. ^ "The Redblacks end 40 years of frustration in Ottawa with Grey Cup win over Stamps in OT".
  8. ^ "Lonie Glieberman looks back at his time running Ottawa's CFL team | Ottawa Sun".
  9. ^ "Renegades won't play in 2006". CBC News. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
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  11. ^ a b c CFL will return to Ottawa
  12. ^ a b;-city-eyes-CFL-return/1 Archived July 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Lansdowne passes by 15–9 margin; city eyes CFL return
  13. ^ "CFL in Ottawa on track for the 2014 season". Official Site of the Canadian Football League. October 10, 2012. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ottawa conditionally awarded 2014 Grey Cup". The Sports Network. November 21, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  15. ^ a b Garrioch, Bruce (June 4, 2012). "No Grey Cup for Ottawa in 2014". The Ottawa Sun.. Ottawa Sun. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
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  17. ^ Garrioch, Bruce (November 11, 2009). "Lansdowne proposal Ottawa's last shot". Slam Sports. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2009.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
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  19. ^ |title=Commissioner says CFL future is merry and bright
  20. ^ |title=Legal fight delays project
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  22. ^ |name=The many disputes of Lansdowne
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  28. ^ "A closer look at the Expansion Draft rules and process". December 4, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  29. ^ "Expansion Draft: Round 1 Selections". Official Site of the Canadian Football League. December 16, 2013. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  30. ^ The Canadian Press (July 3, 2014). "Nic Grigsby, Blue Bombers spoil Redblacks' debut". CBC Sports. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  31. ^ The Canadian Press (July 19, 2014). "Brett Maher boots Redblacks to historic win in home opener". CBC Sports. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  32. ^ "2014 Regular Season Standings". Official Site of the Canadian Football League. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
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  34. ^ The Canadian Press (November 29, 2015). "Eskimos defeat Redblacks to win Grey Cup". CBC Sports. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  35. ^ "How the Crossover Works". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  36. ^ Ralph, Dan (November 20, 2016). "Redblacks blow past Eskimos in East final: Backup running back leads Ottawa to second straight Grey Cup appearance". The Canadian Press. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
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  38. ^ "2017-11-12 Game Tracker - Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Ottawa Redblacks (2452)". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  39. ^ "2018-11-25 Game Tracker - Ottawa Redblacks vs. Calgary Stampeders (2551)". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  40. ^ "Redblacks hand play-calling duties to Joe Paopao". 3DownNation. August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  41. ^ "Ottawa Redblacks part ways with head coach Rick Campbell". The Globe and Mail. November 4, 2019. Archived from the original on November 28, 2022.
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  43. ^ "Ottawa Redblacks fire general manager Marcel Desjardins". October 25, 2021.
  44. ^ Ottawa's New CFL Franchise. Ottawa 67's franchise information sheet. March 25, 2008. Archived October 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ "Ottawa legend Russ Jackson turned off by latest name suggestion | CBC Sports".
  46. ^ "History of the Ottawa Renegades". Canadian Football League. Archived from the original on October 7, 2006.
  47. ^ Desaulniers, Darren (July 22, 2010). "Saskatchewan not expected to allow Ottawa to use old name". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  48. ^ (December 21, 2012). "Team won't be called Rush | Sports | Brantford Expositor". Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  49. ^ Baines, Tim (January 23, 2013). "So to sum it up ... Ottawa CFL group considering Nationals, Raftsmen, Redblacks, Rush and Voyageurs." Ottawa Sun. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  50. ^ Creamer, Chris. "Ottawa CFL Team Will Be RedBlacks". Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  51. ^ Baines, Tim (June 8, 2013). "Ottawa Redblacks name, logo unveiled at CFL launch event in capital | Football | Sports". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  52. ^ "CFL GUIDE & RECORD BOOK: 2017 EDITION" (PDF). p. 155. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 29, 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  53. ^ |name="Rivalry heats up"
  54. ^ a b c "Retired Numbers". Ottawa Redblacks. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  55. ^ a b c d "Kaye Vaughan-TD Place Stadium Wall of Honour". Ottawa Redblacks. September 10, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  56. ^ "Fans show love for retired QB Henry Burris in halftime ceremony". Ottawa Citizen. September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
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