Plaxico Burress hoped that his first season since returning from prison would be good enough to find him some suitors. The wide receiver, who famously wound up behind bars after a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a nightclub, returned to the New York Jets last year and caught 45 passes for more than 600 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Apparently it wasn’t enough, to the point where reports surfaced this week that he would consider taking the league minimum contract just to get on the field. Burress says he just needs someone to give him the chance to show what he can do on the field, but nobody’s felt inclined to give him a close look just yet.
Plaxico Burress joined KILT in Houston with Josh Innes and Rich Lord to discuss the lack of interest in him, why he thinks he’s not on a roster at this point, if off-the-field issues have led to this, how he’s doing financially, what he learned in prison and what kind of physical shape he’s in.
There was a story out this morning that you are willing to take the league minimum. How surprised are you in the lack of interest to sign you?:
“I think my agent and I, I think we were a little surprised, a little frustrated at times, but this is a new league and new things are happening. For myself, for me to go out and do some of the things I was able to do last year, being away from the game for two years, I kind of thought that was enough to set myself up leading up to this year, to have an even better year. The crazy thing about it is nobody’s even see me or seen the kind of shape that I’m in. I just want to get out on the football field and get back to dominating my position and everybody’s just going to go, ‘Wow.'”
Why do you think you’re not on a roster at this point?:
“A lot of these teams want younger, but you have to have veteran guys around if you want to get the younger guys to get to the level that I’m at and to win a championship. For myself, I feel great, man. I’m not really concerned about being able to play football at a high level because I know I can do that. I’m just looking for the right situation for me to go into. You’re talking about going into a situation down in Houston where there’s a Hall of Fame wide receiver in Andre Johnson, Arian Foster — one of the top three backs in all of football — and a great quarterback in Matt Schaub. It’s a situation I would die to be in, but we’ll see what happens.”
Do you think your problems off the field have led to this situation?:
“I was young at one time. I’ve made some mistakes. Like I’ve been saying, I’ve made some mistakes in my life and I’ve moved on from them and I wish that everybody would, also. I’ve put those things behind me and I’m just focused on being a better person and moving forward in life. … If I don’t play football, let it be because I can’t perform physically, not because of what my past has been or what somebody has said.”
There’s a story out there that you owe about $60,000 in back taxes. Is that true?:
“Not at all. I don’t know how that story or where it came from. They say it was in ’07, but I was in New York playing in ’08 and we went back last year and we have no idea how something like that could happen or if somebody is just trying to kick me a little bit more. … We’ve been trying to see how these things come up and where they’re coming from. … I’m doing just fine. I’m getting along. I went through what I went through and I came home and everything was still intact and I got back to playing football.”
What did you learn in your time spent in prison?:
“I would say first and foremost you learn more about yourself as a person. And secondly you learn more about the people around you and in society and things like that. You go through your situations and you persevere through it and it only makes you stronger mentally and spiritually. I dealt with a lot of emotions over that time and it’s made me who I am today. I can’t change my past; I can’t run away from it. It’s part of me.”
You’re about to turn 35 years old. Can you still run?:
“I think I showed that last year. My legs were so up and down with how I was feeling. I didn’t have that strength, didn’t have a chance to put that muscle back on that I had been playing with for so many years. When I was away, I lost like 16 pounds and I came out and trained for like three weeks and I was on a football field. So I really had no chance to get myself together. … That’s all I’ve really been doing, getting my speed back, being able to explode and all those things. Then when I get out on the football field, I won’t have to say anything.”