Plaxico Burress, the best wide receiver the New York Giants had in over a decade and the last person to touch the football for the Giants in their classic Super Bowl win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots in 2008, is being released from prison on Monday (June 6th). Burress has been in jail since 2009 for bringing a loaded gun into a popular Manhattan nightclub and accidentally shooting himself in the leg. He is being released three months earlier than scheduled for good behavior.
Burress will be 34 in August. His height (6’5″) made him a favorite target of Giants quarterback Eli Manning and will make him attractive to a few NFL teams once the lockout is over. Rumor has it that Burress is interested in signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, who already ha ve their own ex-convict/redemption story in Comeback Player of the Year Michael Vick. Burress and Vick have a history together that dates as far back as high school where they played together in Virginia, but it may be difficult to sign Burress for the amount of money he will demand and re-sign star receiver Desean Jackson. Burress may also have to deal with being the third option on a team that also has receiver Jeremy Maclin. While Vick played the good soldier for a season before his natural talent earned him back his starting job, one has to wonder if Burress would be okay with taking a limited role.
Further complicating matters is the fact that some of Plaxico’s former Giants teammates like defensive tackle Justin Tuck have made it clear they want him back on the team. The Giants were well on their way to defending their Super Bowl championship before Burress shot himself and ended the team’s hopes. The outrage and criticism surrounding Burress made it a smart move for the Giants to release him at the time. Add to that the “other” New York team, the Jets, have tossed around going after Burress. Their two top receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are free agents and it is not a given that they can re-sign both. Mark Sanchez joked about adding Burress in an interview last week. While Philly and the two New York teams are high profile landing places, the team with a major need at wide receiver and the ability to pay Burress what he wants may lie in a smaller market.
The St. Louis Rams need a wide receiver and although they were a win away from winning a terrible NFC West division with a losing record last season, they are far from the “Best Show on Turf” days of Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Issac Bruce and Torry Holt. Burress will be looking to re-enter the league in a place where he can make a splash and the Rams may not be as prestigious, but they have a young QB in Sam Bradford who can get him the ball.
Whenever the labor dispute ends Plaxico Burress will be picked up by an NFL team. A change of scenery may be what Burress needs to restart his life as well as career. I think he goes where he can be a starter and the main option at wide receiver and that place is not Philadelphia. The Jets are reportedly looking at Randy Moss. I believe the St. Louis Rams will make Burress an offer that will eventually put Plax in blue and gold. The challenge of bringing the Rams back to prominence could be too good to pass up.