With the Giants getting ready to start the 2012 season in only three days, the guy who had a big role in their 2007 Super Bowl run seems to be accepting the fact that his football career could be ending.
“I’m a human being and have been through worse,” receiver Plaxico Burress tells Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “I’ve been in darker places. I’m alive, I’m home here with my family. If I don’t play football again, I have a nice shiny piece of hardware to show for it. If it is over, football has been wonderful to me. If I don’t play anymore, it won’t be because I can’t play anymore or can’t get open.”
Burress believes he’s being overlooked because of an off-field history that includes a 2008 accidental self-shooting that triggered 20 months in prison.
“I can’t sit here and say there are guys on these teams who are better than I am,” Burress said. “I am looking at it from a player’s standpoint: It has nothing to do with me being able to perform. It has nothing to do with me being 35.”
Burress, whose only offseason workout came in New England, says he would like to re-join the Jets, the team for which he scored eight touchdowns and generated 612 receiving yards in 2011. “I know I’m better than that,” he said of his performance, which he believes was undermined by the rustiness of an extended stay at the Hotel Hoosegow.
“I got my legs back under me,” Burress said. “For me, it’s all about getting on the field and doing what I can do.”
He insists that he wasn’t a troublemaker for the Jets. “As far as me going into the locker room and causing a problem, after everything I’ve been through, I’d have to be crazy,” Burress said. “I just went in and played the best I could. I didn’t have a problem with anybody. I had fun. I laughed a lot. I enjoyed myself. I was happy going to work in the morning and being back on my feet. I didn’t cause any problems over there.”
Whether other teams foresee problems or choose to go younger or believe that Burress simply doesn’t have it any more, the chronic lack of interest over the past six months suggests that there won’t be a sudden spike over the next six days.
Still, it’s possible that teams are laying low, waiting until Week One has come and gone before making a play for Plaxico, who can be signed at that point without his full salary being essentially guaranteed. So if the phone doesn’t start ringing by next Monday, Burress will be relegated to the “waiting for enough guys to get injured” shelf with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens.