After spending months unsigned in 2012, the Steelers brought Burress back to Pittsburgh. He made his debut on Nov. 25 against the Cleveland Browns.
One last shot
Plaxico Burress was an All-Pro-worthy talent who broke the law and was prosecuted. After being released from prison, he played one season for the Jets in 2011. Now after re-signing with the Steelers on Nov. 20 for the 2012 season, Burress has begun his second stint in Pittsburgh. — Ross Jones
The amateur years
Burress, one of the top wide receivers in the nation from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, chose to play for Nick Saban’s Michigan State Spartans. In 1997, Burress’ freshman year in Lansing, he sat out because of academic reasons. His sophomore season, Burress was selected second-team All-Big Ten after setting a school record of 65 receptions in a season (since broken by Devin Thomas with 79 in 2007). Burress then eclipsed his previous season record, hauling in 66 balls, and was selected to the All-Big Ten first team his junior year. He decided to forgo his senior season and entered the 2000 NFL draft.
Burress didn’t have to wait long on draft day. Bill Cowher, then the Steelers' head coach, notified him he would be picked eighth overall by Pittsburgh in the 2000 draft. Burress was plugged in immediately his rookie season, playing in 11 games with 23 receptions for 273 yards.
Making a name with Steelers
Burress played five seasons for Pittsburgh and became a big part of Cowher’s offense his second season, grabbing 66 balls for 1,008 yards. Burress reached the height of his potential in year three with 78 receptions for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns. Burress steadily declined the next two seasons and left as a free agent in 2005. Burress ranks seventh on the Steelers’ career receiving yards list with 4,164.
Signing with the Giants
On March 17, 2005, Burress was signed to a six-year, $25 million contract with the New York Giants. The opportunity to play in the Big Apple paid immediate dividends as he had a stellar season with 76 receptions for 1,214 yards and seven touchdowns. Over the next two seasons, Burress accumulated more than 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Super Bowl touchdown catch
Some would say Burress obtained Super Bowl legend status, as he boldly predicted a win over the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Burress caught the game-winning pass despite a severe leg injury that hampered him all season long, and the Giants stunned the Pats and the nation, 17-14, in one of the best Super Bowls ever.
From champ to chump
With a championship ring in hand, Burress was unsatisfied with his contract. Although he was to receive $3.25 million for 2008, Burress felt grossly underpaid compared to other star wide receivers. The Giants restructured his contract and signed him to a five-year, $35 million extension that was laced with incentives. Burress had 35 catches for 454 yards in 10 games, but his season was cut short by the notorious nightclub incident that led to his downfall.
Accidental shooting and arrest
On the night of Nov. 28, 2008, Burress accidentally suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a Manhattan nightclub. As his Glock pistol, nestled in the waistband of his sweatpants, began to slip, Burress reached for it and the gun went off. Burress suffered a bullet wound to his right thigh and was taken to the hospital. After being arrested by the NYPD, Burress posted a $100,000 bail and was told by the Giants that he would be suspended for the final four games of the season.
Burress in court
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called the shooting incident at “outrage” and wanted to see the star receiver prosecuted to the fullest. Burress unlawfully had a gun in his possession without a New York concealed carrying license. Burress was formally indicted by a grand jury on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, both felonies. In the summer of 2009, Burress accepted a plea deal that would incarcerate him for two years.
Released from the Giants
The Giants cut their troubled star in April 2009. A press release from Giants head coach Tom Coughlin read: "Plaxico's contribution to our championship season in 2007 can never be underestimated or undervalued. He displayed tremendous determination throughout that season. Having said that, I have always been as concerned about Plaxico as a man as I have been about him as a player, and my hope is that everything that has happened over the past several months represents a turning point. He is a young man with a family who has a whole lifetime ahead of him, and I personally wish him and his family well."
Released from prison
After 20 months at the Oneida Correctional Facility in New York, Burress was released on Monday. Burress will look for a team to give him another chance once the NFL labor lockout is over. ''I'd like to thank everybody for their prayers and words of encouragement,'' he said. ''I'd like to thank all my fans all around the world for the thousands of letters, for their unwavering support. As far as football is concerned, if and when everything gets settled, when they get back on the field, I'll be ready.' It has been reported that Burress has kept in football shape and works out around four times a week. Former teammate and Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has been on record saying that, “there is no chance Plaxico Burress is a New York Giant after he comes home.”
Back to the Big Apple
The New York Jets announced that they agreed to terms with Burress on a one-year contract. Burress, who met with both his former teams, decided to play for Rex Ryan. The deal is reportedly worth $3.017 million.
There's a first
Plaxico Burress beats Bengals cornerback Fred Bennett for his first touchdown catch in a Jets uniform as New York rolled to victory. Burress finished with three catches for 66 yards and that second-quarter TD.