Burden didn't know record fell

November 06, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. CFLS NOTEBOOK — SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Willie Burden never knew his 19-year-old CFL rushing record was in jeopardy until it fell.

When the athletic director of North Carolina A&T State University got a phone call from a Calgary, Alberta, reporter a week ago, he found out that Baltimore's Mike Pringle had supplanted him as the league's all-time single-season rusher.

"I wasn't aware," Burden said. "No one told me he was approaching the record.

"I don't feel very good about it. [But] I have congratulated him. I sent him a fax to kind of pass the ball on to him. It's a great accomplishment in the passing league to run that far."

Playing for the Calgary Stampeders, Burden ran for 1,896 yards in 1975 to break the 14-year-old record of Calgary's Earl "Earthquake" Lunsford.

Pringle broke the record a week ago with 1,901 yards and added to the total last night in Sacramento.

Burden said the record "vaults [Pringle] to another status. He won't be the same after this."

Burden was in his second season with the Stampeders when he toppled Lunsford's mark. Like Pringle, Burden broke the record at home against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

"They played a trick on me by inviting my mother and brother," he said. "I didn't know she was there until right before kickoff, when they drove the limo right down the middle of the field.

"We were only a 6-10 team, but that became our Grey Cup. All the talk was, let's get the record. I needed 138 and I got 238."

He also got a new, three-year contract in the off-season. But he had only one more 1,000-yard season in his eight-year career.

"That record will be broken," Burden said. "I told [Pringle] to enjoy it while he has it."

A clean sweep

The Holiday Inn in Timonium, the hotel for most of the visiting CFL teams this season, one-upped Winnipeg before Baltimore's big victory in Week 17.

It seems that the Delta Winnipeg sent fliers to the media before last week's showdown between the Eastern Division rivals saying it would serve as host hotel for the 1994 Eastern final.

The Holiday Inn promptly fired off a response saying it would be the host hotel for the East final and issued the challenge of a $50 wager in products with a "local flair."

Baltimore won the game, 57-10, and the Holiday Inn the wager.

Passing the praise

Baltimore coach Don Matthews said there's one overlooked element in Pringle's run to the record book: quarterback Tracy Ham.

"It's the unselfishness of Tracy Ham to hand the ball off in a pass-crazy league when the guy's calling his own plays," Matthews said. "There's credit to the offensive line and the quarterback who is not worried about stats."

Ticket extension

CFLs owner Jim Speros has extended the deadline for the purchase of playoff tickets by season ticket holders. They can still purchase preferred seats through Wednesday.

Speros said that 6,000 seats belonging to season ticket holders are unaccounted for. "We have 20,000 good seats available, and 10,000 are sideline seats."


Matthews questioned three calls in last week's win over Winnipeg -- a fumble ruling against Sheldon Canley on the goal line and pass interference calls against cornerbacks Irv Smith and Karl Anthony. Matthews said the league agreed that the fumble and Smith's interference penalty were incorrect calls but supported the flag against Anthony, saying he bumped the receiver twice.

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