On June 6th, former Giants star wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be eligible for release from prison on good behavior after spending two years following an altercation in a New York City club where Plaxico shot himself in the leg.
It is without question that Plaxico Burress was the Giants’ best receiver and quite possibly one of the NFL’s best receivers prior to his legal troubles and subsequent release from the New York Giants.
Now with his impending release, talk has risen about the re-signing of the former Super Bowl hero by the New York Giants, but is it worth the risk?
It is easy to see where one might draw comparisons to the megastar in Philadelphia, Michael Vick. This season, Vick took the Eagles under his wing and guided them to an NFC East title, all the while placing himself as a contender for the NFL Most Valuable Player award. He did all this, of course, two years removed from prison.
Is it rational to believe that the 33 year old Plaxico, three years older than Michael Vick, could follow in Vick’s footsteps and return with an outstanding season of his own? Not likely.
Plaxico’s transgressions came in the midst of a stressful, troublesome season for he and the New York Giants. From the start of mini-camp in May, Plaxico stirred controversy over his contract using an arguable ankle injury as means to practice very little during that time. The Giants and Plaxico would come to agreements on a five-year, $35 million contract. The contract was laced with incentives, something the Giants would come to be very thankful for by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, Plaxico’s actions in mini-camp were only a glimpse of what was to come that 2008 football season.
The Totowa, New Jersey police responded to domestic disturbances at Plaxico’s home in August and September of 2008; each resulted in a temporary restraining order eventually dismissed by New Jersey state court.
Plaxico was then suspended for a game midseason for violating Giants’ team rules; then, he was fined $45,000 a few weeks later for a variety of misconduct to the New York Giants. One month later, the incident which occurred within a New York City nightclub, which eventually cost Plaxico his freedom, left the Giants and Plaxico’s life in shambles.
These troubles, while at a much larger scale, were nothing new to Plaxico Burress. Plaxico’s career with the Pittsburgh Steelers was tarnished by immaturity and misconduct, resulting in a number of fines and suspensions during his five seasons with the organizatio. Those troubles followed him right to New York—and they grew.
But does this relinquish the ability of reformation from Plaxico Burress? Absolutely not, but truthfully, comparing Plaxico to Michael Vick is like apples to oranges.
Plaxico has spent his entire career as a distraction and an off-the-field troublemaker, while Vick kept a clean record until his final season in Atlanta. While Plaxico has always been a great target on the football field, nobody can change a game like Michael Vick. His presence on the football alone changes the way teams must prepare.
Plaxico’s career numbers argue that he is hardly a threat at all, only recording four 1,000-yard seasons over nine career seasons in the NFL. At 34 years of age, and returning after a two-year stint in prison, how much more dangerous could he possibly be?
Regardless, he’s not worth the trouble for the New York Giants. The Giants have enough trouble standing on their own two feet as it is, so dragging another potential headcase onto a team where the position does not need to be bolstered would be utterly foolish on the part of the Giants.
There is nothing wrong with giving Plaxico Burress a second chance. In fact, it should be recommended and he is expected to be a major target in free agency if he is released from Oneida Correctional Facility in June.
For the New York Giants though, Plaxico Burress must be a big, fat no!