Plaxico Burress: San Francisco 49ers Seek Jump-Ball WR, Is He an Option?

Joseph BurkeyAnalyst IApril 13, 2011

"Go-up-and-get-it" is the name of the game.
"Go-up-and-get-it" is the name of the game.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Plaxico Burress is set to be released from prison this summer. A few weeks back, his agent Drew Rosenhaus said the troubled pass catcher intends to play in the 2011 season.

Via, Rosenhaus said: “I’m not a big advocate of making predictions on teams because so much can change,” Drew Rosenhaus told Josina Anderson on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. “But I am not afraid to make the following prediction: Plaxico Burress will be playing in 2011, and he will play very well. And it will be a very happy ending to a very tough, tough story for him.”

Eli Manning and Steve Smith have said it they would welcome back the 6'5", 232-pound wideout from their Super Bowl XLII team. Plaxico returning to the Giants, however, is highly unlikely.

John Harbaugh has also expressed interest in meeting and potentially signing the soon-to-be-released receiver.

The Baltimore Ravens head coach said, "I don't know Plaxico Burress at all, I've never met him, but we'd consider him...We'd consider anybody. It just depends on where he's at. I'd like to find out what kind of person he is, to see where he's really at in his life."

Which begs the question: Would John's brother and new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh consider the troubled (and aging) jump-ball receiver an option in 2011 as well?

Any NFL fan worth a first down knows Plaxico's story. Essentially, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for shooting himself in the foot (in the thigh literally).

This bone-head play was the last in a series of poor-minded gambles by the star receiver and two-time Super Bowl Champion. His other blunders include a domestic disturbance call and two civil suits involving vehicles.

But if one Harbaugh is at least willing to consider the talented veteran, so might be the new 49ers and former Stanford head coach.

Of course the two teams find themselves in very different circumstances. Baltimore has become a perennial playoff contender who's trying to move to the next level, while San Francisco is simply desperate to rise above its (rightfully?) disrespected division.

The 49ers have lacked a go-up-and-get-it receiver for a while, and that was precisely Plaxico's specialty the year the New York Giants upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Additionally, in a year where free agency—as well as training camps—are getting cut short, a simplistic large-target pass catcher could be a useful commodity, especially given the fact that Jim Harbaugh has more than his work cut out for him; he needs to install his West-Coast offense, but will receive limited time in which to do so.

Sure, there are going to be some jump-ball receivers coming out in the 2011 draft, but the elite ones would cost a first-round pick, which it is largely agreed will be spent on a pass rusher, corner or quarterback.

Plaxico is not in any position to demand a giant contract. Questions surround him, as he has been out of football for quite a while, did take a bullet to the leg and never had a reputation as a hard worker or model citizen. Michael Vick, for instance, landed only a faction of his former salary when Philadelphia took a chance on him. And I think the stats and highlights speak for themselves.

So if San Francisco wants to take a little risk, a lofty reward just might result from it.



Update: Michael Vick wants to reach out to Plaxico.