PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — HE’S BACK!!! Former first-round pick Plaxico Burress is back in the black and gold for the first time since the 2004 season. Let’s refresh our memory of Burress and take a look at where Plax has been since leaving Pittsburgh.
Who is Plaxico Burress?
From Norfolk, VA, Burress attending Michigan State before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 8th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. After 5 seasons in Pittsburgh, Burress left via free agency and signed a 6 year contract with the New York Giants. Burress was a key element to the Giants offense his 1st 3 seasons in New York catching 219 passes for 3,227 yards and 29 touchdowns. In the 2007 playoffs, he helped the Giants upset the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship game with 11 receptions and 154 yards. That led to Burress making one of the biggest catches in Super Bowl history. The Giants entered Super Bowl XLII a 12 point underdog, but after Eli Manning hooked up with Burress from 13 yards out for the game winning touchdown with just :35 left in the game. That was only the 2nd catch for Burress on the night.
After helping the Giants to a Super Bowl Championship Burress found himself in legal trouble during the 2008 season. On November 28th, Burress suffered an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right thigh when a gun, tucked in the waistband of his sweatpants, began sliding down his leg; apparently in reaching for the gun he inadvertently depressed the trigger, causing the gun to fire. Because Burress did not have a permit for that gun in New York, charges were brought on Burress. Facing 2 felony charges, Burress agreed to a plea deal that put him in prison for 2 years. In June of 2011, Burress was released from prison and back on the market as a free agent.
After turning down a 2-year deal with Pittsburgh, Burress agreed to a 1 year deal with the New York Jets. With the New York Jets Burress was used primarily as a red zone threat, and that is exactly what he was. Playing all 16 games with the Jets he finished the season with just 45 catches, but 8 of them went for scores. After the 2011 season, Burress was once again a free agent.
How did he become a Steeler?
Desperate to add depth at the wide receiver spot after both Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown have gone down with injuries recently, the Steelers invited Burress to a tryout Tueday morning and signed him shortly after. Burress will wear the #80 again as a Steeler. That is the number he had worn his 1st time in the black and gold. He wore the #17 for the Giants and Jets, but that number is occupied by Mike Wallace currently.
His career as a Steeler?
After starting his NFL career off a bit slow during his rookie season, Burress had his 2 best seasons as a Steeler in his 2nd and 3rd year. Both years the wide out went for over 1,000 yards. His 2003 season may be the best of his career as he had career highs in catches and yards. He also scored 7 times that season.
Don’t expect much out of Burress immediately, but the Steelers do expect him to be able to contribute and be a threat offensively, especially in the red zone.