Plaxico Burress: Veteran Receiver Can Fix Pittsburgh Steelers' Red-Zone Problems

Adam WaksmanCorrespondent IIINovember 20, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01:  Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Jets looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress may be rejoining the team after an eight-year hiatus (via Mike Garafolo of USA Today). That hiatus included winning a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, going to jail, then winning Comeback Player of the Year with the New York Jets.

This year, Burress has been at home on the couch, but he believes he is in football shape. Said Burress, "[I could have] a two or three touchdown game just coming off the couch."

Burress will reportedly be meeting with the Steelers—the team that drafted him eighth overall in the 2000 draft. The Steelers are hanging onto their wild-card spot by a thread at 6-4. They are one game ahead of the 5-5 Cincinnati Bengals and are playing without injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Presumably, Pittsburgh is hoping to jump-start their offense that was unable to do anything Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Most importantly, Burress can completely change the Steelers' red-zone offense.

At this point in his career, Burress is one of the slowest receivers in the NFL (or he would be if he were in the NFL). He has no business being on the field between the 20s. Nevertheless, his 6'5'', 232-pound frame is perfect for short red-zone plays.

Without a doubt, Burress demonstrated this fact in 2011 with the Jets. The Jets ranked No. 1 in the NFL in red-zone offense for the 2011 season. This is the same Jets team that has struggled in the red zone in 2009, 2010 and 2012 (the rest of Mark Sanchez's career).

Every Jets fan knows what Burress brings to the table. He sits on the bench until you get inside the 20. Then you toss up a jump-ball in the end zone, and he grabs it. The Steelers need that boost as much as anybody. They rank 20th in the NFL in red-zone offense, converting less than half of their attempts.

At this point in his career, Burress can be had for the veteran's minimum. He can come in for a handful of plays per game in the red zone and snag a touchdown pass. That is completely worth it, and the Steelers will be smart to pick him up.

Antonio Brown is out with a high ankle sprain and Jerricho Cotchery was injured in Sunday night's loss to the Ravens. There is room on this team for Burress, and he clearly wants the job.

Leaving one of the biggest and tallest wide receivers in the world at home—wearing a Super Bowl ring—on the couch? That would not make sense.


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