While a headache at times, fans put up with Burress' off-the-field antics because he performed on the field and it never affected his play. Personally, I loved the fact that he played pretty much the entire 2007 season with a busted up ankle, showing how much he would sacrifice for his teammates.
Unfortunately, the inability to abide by the letter of the law would eventually cost him his job and force him to spend two years in a New York penitentiary. Although I feel like Plaxico Burress is sorry for what he did, I'm not sure he is a changed man. That verdict will have to be decided after he is released on June 6th.
All that being said, it really wouldn't be that much of a tragedy if the Giants brought back their Super Bowl hero. I've seen all the comments being made on this website, and it seems like it's 50/50 in terms of the percentage of people that do and don't want him to come back.
You probably know that I've been one of those people who are against the idea of bringing him back. However, there are some conditions that the Giants could abide by that would change my mind.
First of all, I'm not OK with the Michael Strahan method of "signing him when he gets out of the limo." The Giants can't afford to be hasty with such a volatile situation.
Should the Giants bring back Plaxico Burress?
Jerry Reese has expressed that the Giants will do everything to learn all they can about Burress' mental and physical state. If that's the case, I would be fine if the Giants held some sort of workout for Burress and he proved he is still in football shape.
Second, I would make it clear that Hakeem Nicks is the No. 1 wide receiver and no one is going to change that. Nicks proved he was one of the more talented wide receivers in the NFL last year before a minor injury kept him out of three games.
Burress has to realize that no matter how good he looks in a workout, he's not going to be in game shape for probably another year, and by that time, he will be 35 years old.
There is a definite limit on how many years Burress has left.
Which brings me to the next point: Should the Giants sign Burress? They need to make his contract mostly incentive-based. If they approach it like him having to earn what he makes, it would motivate him to work hard and be the best player he can be.
Lastly, with Steve Smith admitting publicly that he may never be the same again after his major knee surgery, the Giants could be without one of their better weapons over the past two seasons.
If they feel like his career is in jeopardy, they may actually let him go via free agency. This would create a huge hole for the Giants at the position, and seeing as how the free agency period is going to happen after the draft, Burress may be the best option.
The Giants are not going to spend an early pick on a wide receiver. If the Giants release Smith and have no other options, Burress could be given serious consideration.
Under these circumstances, I would understand the Giants signing Burress to a two-year contract. Who knows what will actually happen when he is released; several of the Giants players have stated publicly that they would welcome him back with open arms.
That alone won't be enough for Jerry Reese to sign him, but it could be the deciding factor after it's all said and done.