Plaxico Burress returned to the NFL this week, signing with the team who drafted him out of Michigan State, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Randy Moss signed with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason, although he has had a minimal impact with the team in many games this season. With Moss and Burress both back in the league, could Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens be next to return?
That remains to be seen.
Moss was left for dead after his trade from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings that led to his release and stint with the Tennessee Titans in which Moss rarely even saw the field. He took a season off after the NFL Lockout wiped out must of the preseason training camps, only to return to the NFL with the 49ers prior to the 2012 season. Moss has played in all 10 games for the 49ers this season, but has just a total of 26 receptions for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
Burress will make his much anticipated return this Sunday, when the Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns. He may not get a ton of targets, but the former Super Bowl hero for the New York Giants has said that the team has designed a red zone package for him this week. As the season progresses, Burress could find himself more involved in the offense.
As for Johnson and Owens, their situations differ from those of Moss and Burress. Moss has not been a distraction off the field or in the locker room for quite some time now. Burress’s biggest flaw was making a bad decision that cost him two years of his normal life. He was not a problem in the locker room or on the field with the New York Jets last season, as he was actually one of their best players on offense.
Johnson was not smart enough to learn the New England Patriots offense, nor was he bright enough to learn that new Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was not going to put up with any of his antics. Following the domestic dispute with his now ex-wife, the Dolphins cut Johnson, and no other team has been in contact with the former perennial Pro-Bowl receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Owens was also a part of training camp this past offseason, joining the Seattle Seahawks for a brief stint. While Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said he did all the right things for the Seahawks, he was still cut before the start of the regular season. He has not been asked back by Seattle or any other team.
Moss got his chance to come back. Burress did as well. But the last images we have of Johnson is his being fired on television on Hard Knocks, while many will only remember Owens dropping a sure touchdown pass in Seattle on one of his only targets in a preseason game.
That may be the final time we see either of them, at least in terms of having anything to do with the NFL.