Plaxico Burress is a 35-year-old wide receiver whose best days are in the rearview. He missed two NFL seasons while sitting in prison after committing one of the more ridiculous crimes ever committed by a professional athlete, and that is still saying something. With decreasing numbers and increasing age, Burress should be hoping to settle for any team who is willing to pay him just to show up to training camp.
But alas, that is not the case with Burress.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I was pulling for Burress to succeed in his first season back last year with the New York Jets. And trust me, it had absolutely nothing to do with the team he suited up for each week. It was just rooting for him individually.
It is not that I have been a lifelong Burress fan, and neither was I a big fan of any of the teams he played for in the past. I don’t root for Michigan State, or the Pittsburgh Steelers or New York Giants. But considering what so many athletes do in terms of committing crimes or violations, and they still receive a ridiculous amount of fanfare, I thought that I would root for Burress, who, really never intended to hurt anyone. He shot himself in the leg because he had a gun, yes. But it came at a time when NFL players were being carjacked, robbed and even killed. He was simply trying to protect himself.
Albeit, he couldn’t have picked a more foolish way of attempting to do so, and he did his time for his ill advised crime.
But he didn’t shoot anyone else. He didn’t cheat teh game. He didn’t run an illegal dog fighting ring and kill numerous helpless animals. He didn’t do drugs. So, considering what many NFL players get involved in, Burress’ indiscretions were minor.
So, while I have rooted for Burress to return and succeed, I cannot defend him this time.
After seeing what players such as Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and Braylon Edwards have signed for recently, Burress should know he is not worth much more than that. Yes, he had a good season last year with horrible quarterback play. And, because his strength is more his height than his speed, Burress may even replicate last year’s numbers, or even surpass them.
But that fact that he is holding out for what people around the league are simply calling ‘too much money’ is a bit ludicrous.
Burress has a large back tax bill. He needs a job. I get that. But he is going to have to sign a small contract – in professional sports terms, of course – and hope for another good season that he can parlay into another year after that. And with many teams having already passed on all of the other aging wide receivers who are on the decline, Burress is going to have to settle for far less than what he is hoping for at this point.
Reportedly, even the Seattle Seahawks are not interested, and they proved they are desperate to sign any receiver, despite his age an off the field issues. The team that Burress broke into the league, the Steelers, may be interested in bringing him back to further prove to Mike Wallace that they are more than willing to move further without him on the field.
Only time will tell, but at this point, either Burress needs to lower his asking price quite astronomically, or risk waiting until after the start of the 2012 NFL season to find work.
Either way, it is going to cost him. But if he wants to keep playing and earn anything, he needs a reality check.
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