By Jason Klein
Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 6/16/09
Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh last season. Any NFL owner who passes on his services this off season may as well shoot himself in the foot.
On November 29, 2008, the disgraced 31-year-old wide receiver put a bullet in his thigh with an unlicensed gun while inside a Manhattan nightclub. Long story short: Burress pleaded not guilty, was freed on $100,000 bail, and faces up to 3 and a half years behind bars. Oh, and he missed the rest of the 2008 season, couldn’t help the Giants defend their title, and was subsequently released in April 2009 – it was a rough five months for the man who caught the game winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII just ten months prior.
On Monday, June 15th, Burress appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court, and had his weapons possession case adjourned until September. According to agent Drew Rosenhaus, as posted on his Twitter page, “…there will not be a trial for Plex until after the 09 season…we are hoping to have a deal in place with a team for Plex before training camps start.”
As long as Burress doesn’t give himself a hernia carrying all that baggage, he is automatically the best wide receiver on the market this off season, and should be coveted as such. Why not? During the 2007 season, his last full season, Burress caught 70 balls for 1,025 yards, and 12 TDs. Those are the numbers of an elite receiver.
So why would any NFL owner want this large distraction? Because Plaxico Burress will produce on the field. Bottom line. The NFL is a results-driven league – if you can help a team win, there will always be a job for you…no matter how big your off-the-field issues may be (see Pacman Jones).
There are at least three teams who have expressed interest in adding #17 to their roster, including the Tampa Bay Bucs, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets. Burress would be the number one receiver on any of those teams before ever lacing up his spikes.
According to a New York Post report, under current NFL rules, Burress could be indicted, agree to a trial date, but still take the field for the 2009 season. The one caveat, he can’t plead guilty or be convicted before then – both unlikely given the current state of affairs.
There is one minor obstacle standing in the way for these anxious, receiver-weak clubs. According to the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell could potentially suspend the receiver for his off-the-field actions. Interested teams have already reached out to the commissioner’s office to get a read on his intentions before making any offers.
There is no question that what Burress did was wrong, and one could certainly question his makeup. No one really knows why he felt it was necessary to carry a loaded, unlicensed weapon into the club that night, but he will have his day in court to explain it all. Until then, Burress should get his chance to perform on the field as several NFL teams will reach out to try and add instant offense to their club.
After all, it’s worth a “shot.”
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