Plaxico Burress: Ten Reasons Why the Giants Should Bring Him Back
It's crazy to think that it's been two and a half years since Plaxico Burress last played a snap in the NFL. On November 28, 2008, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unregistered gun while at a nightclub in New York City. He was charged and indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and a single count of reckless endangerment, and has been in prison ever since.
But with Burress' prison term set to end on June 6th, there have been talks about where he'll end up...if there's a season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that Burress won't be suspended by the NFL, meaning he can suit up week one.
After the success of Michael Vick with the Eagles, it's obvious that world-class athletes can overcome almost any obstacles—including prison during the prime of their athletic peaks. For Burress to have the success he was enjoying before his stint in the joint, the best move for him is to return to the scene of the crime....the New York Giants.
Here are the top 10 reasons why a reunion between Burress and the Giants is a match made in heaven.
Giants Need a Receiver
The good is that the Giants have Hakeem Nicks, who may be the best young receiver in football, and Steve Smith, one of the best possession receivers in football. The bad is that Smith ended last season on the IR with a severely damaged knee, while Hakeem Nicks also struggled with nagging injuries all season. With Smith likely to miss most of next season (and also being a free agent), the Giants suddenly have a hole at receiver.
Eli Manning Likes Him
It's no secret—Eli Manning is not the world's most accurate passer. Eli's 25 picks last year really dampened an otherwise great year (4,000+ yards, 30+ TD's). While many of those picks came off deflections or wrong reads by a novice receiving corps, a good chunk came on overthrows.
Burress, who is 6'5", is one of the best in the game at going up to snag a high pass. Hakeem Nicks is similar to him in that respect, and it was no surprise that Nicks turned into Eli's favorite target as the season progressed.
The Giants current receiving corps is certainly talented, but it's also very green.
Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Ramses Barden and Domenik Hixon Combined Stats:
Plaxico Burress Career Stats:
In 37 fewer games, Plaxico has almost 1,000 more yards and 10 more touchdowns. Statistically, Plax can bring something to the table unmatched by the Giants current receiving corps.
As alluded to in the last slide, Plaxico has 128 games under his belt. Which doesn't include nine playoff games spread out over four seasons. Teams like winners, and Plaxico is that. He's played on successful teams his entire career, winning a ring with the Giants in 2007. He came up huge in the playoffs and led to this great call by Joe Buck: "Manning lobs it, Burress alone, TOUCHDOWN NEW YORK!"
Everybody Deserves a Second Chance
Michael Vick killed dogs for sport and was welcomed back to the NFL. Donte Stallworth killed a man while driving drunk and was welcomed back to the NFL. Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself (HIMSELF) in the leg with his own gun that he had brought for protection. A night before, teammate (and current Giants wide receiver) Steve Smith was robbed in front of his house at gunpoint in his gated community. Scared by the story, Plaxico brought the gun along with him for protection.
Yes—Plaxico should have registered the gun, or at least put it in a holster (he stuck it in his sweatpants). But Vick and Stallworth combined served less jail time than Plaxico did, and both of their crimes involved killing. Plaxico's crime only harmed himself... by accident!
Role Model for Other Receivers
The Giants have a pair of huge receivers on their roster who play similarly to Burress in Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. Nicks had a huge season last year, but struggled with route running and timing at times. While Barden showed some flashes in the preseason, he's been essentially a non-factor thus far in the NFL. Bringing in Plaxico would be a great idea in this regard, as he'd essentially be an extra coach that players could seek advice from.
His Teammates Want Him Back
This article by New York Post writer Steve Serby sums it up perfectly.
On top of star defensive end Justin Tuck and general manager Jerry Reese, other Giants including Lawrence Tynes and Brandon Jacob, have enthusiastically endorsed Plaxico's return.
Tom Couglin and the Coaching Staff Can Handle Him
It's no secret that Burress has a bit of an attitude. Early on in his Giants career he could be seen sulking or walking back to the huddle with his head down or hands up if the play didn't go to him. If Manning had been picked off, Burress would stop playing.
While he never became a saint with the team, his attitude improved, and the bouts of immaturity that hampered him throughout his stay in Pittsburgh became less and less apparent.
A lot of the credit for that should be given to Tom Coughlin, one of the game's most underrated coaches. Many call out Coughlin for being too old-school, and too much of a disciplinarian, but this style eventually worked on Plaxico.
On top of that, Plaxico will be working with the same offensive coordinator (Kevin Gilbride) when he left the team. The familiarity of the two should lead to a swift comeback with the team.
Big Game Player
During the Giants Super Bowl run, there were tons of memories. Whether it be David Tyree's incredible catch, R.W. McQuarters' interception to seal the game against Dallas or Lawrence Tynes' game-winning overtime field goal to knock off Green Bay, the Giants collected highlight after highlight during the run.
Plaxico had a big part of that.
In the game against Green Bay, Burress hauled in 11 balls for 151 yards, consistently burning Al Harris. Anytime the Giants needed a big play to keep a drive alive, Eli targeted Burress, who came up big time and time again.
When it came to the Super Bowl, Burress' game stats weren't as impressive, but the extra attention the Patriots were forced to pay to him opened up the entire offense and prevented them from stacking the box, aiding the running game. But when push came to shove, at the end of the game, Manning and Burress hooked up again for the game-winning score.
I know this slide alone will lead a few people to leave a comment saying, "I'm a fan and I don't want him back." But go to any Giants game and you'll still see fans wearing their Burress jerseys. Giants fans still stand behind Lawrence Taylor after everything he's gone through because he never went against the Giants. Tiki Barber, on the other hand, never broke the law, but called out Coughlin, Manning and his teammates, angering fans.
Burress was always close with Wellington Mara and has written an apology letter to John Mara and Steve Tisch, the current owners of the team. He's remorseful, and given the opportunity, will be extremely motivated to make it up to the Giants.
So—do you think the Giants should bring back Burress?