I made this prediction back in November 2008 when he accidentally shot himself in a New York City nightclub with a pistol tucked in sweatpants (who wears sweatpants to a club?). After months of sparring through the media by Burress's attorney Benjamin Brafman and New York District Attorney Robert Morganthau, it has come to this.
Burress will likely begin his sentence in mid- to late September and if he shows to be a model inmate, he will be released in April 2011. However, there are factors that Burress cannot control which effectively ended his NFL career.
Here they are:
Age: Burress will be 32 next month (born in 1977) and when he is released in time for the 2011 season, he will be 34, not necessarily a spring chicken. Not only that, Burress has had a reputation for not working very hard and being injury prone, going all the way back to his days with Pittsburgh, even during his college days at Michigan State.
While his height and his ability in the red zone will always tempt teams into taking a flyer on him, I think his age and inactivity from football (nearly two and half seasons) will outweigh his physical talents.
Attitude: Burress has had a reputation of being a player who constantly shows up late or in some cases, not at all to meetings and treatment. Yes, Tom Coughlin is often viewed as a strict disciplinarian who gets too tough on his own teams but even a "player's coach" like Wade Phillips would have tough times keeping Burress under tabs.
Could Burress prove to teams that show interest in him in 2011 that he is a changed man who will promise to be on time and run every route like it is his last? I doubt it.
The potential lockout: NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith has recently told the NFL players to be prepared for a lockout during the 2011 season. Given that Gene Upshaw and Art Rooney, two men who have put out fires in past collective bargaining agreement talks will not be present in the meetings any more, a lockout seems like a real possibility.
There could be no football in 2011, a horrible thought for all of us but a reality that could occur. What does this mean for Burress? It could mean over three full seasons if a new CBA cannot be reached with the owners.
If I was betting on Burress, I would bet that he would never play in the NFL again. Then again I could be wrong. I was the same guy who thought Michael Vick would never suit up in the NFL again or that Brett Favre would never wear purple but I have been wrong on both counts. Time will tell but I hope that Burress will learn from this lesson.
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