Burress blasts Coughlin, Manning
New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress fired shots at more than himself in an explosive interview to be published next week.
In an interview in the October issue of Men's Journal, Burress blasted Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning as well as the team's management, fans who celebrated his incarceration and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
His biggest target was Coughlin, the coach he butted heads with for four years with the Giants. When Burress shot himself accidentally in the leg in November 2008, he said Coughlin showed no concern.
"After my situation happened, I turned on the TV, and the first words out his mouth was 'sad and disappointing,'" Burress said. "I'm like, forget support — how about some concern? I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, 'I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."
The 34-year-old said Coughlin's style rubs players the wrong way.
"He's not a real positive coach," Burress said. "You look around the league, the Raheem Morrises and Rex Ryans — when their player makes a mistake, they take 'em to the side and say, 'We'll get 'em next time.' But Coughlin's on the sideline going crazy, man. I can't remember one time when he tried to talk a player through not having a day he was having."
Coughlin said at Giants camp Friday that he wasn't aware of Burress' comments in the magazine.
''I am really not all that concerned,'' he said. ''I'm sure it was lots of grandiose statements. I don't know anything about that. I am really not interested in it, either.''
When asked about his comments in the magazine article, Burress said: ''I was just being honest.''
The interview, which hits newsstands on Sept. 16, was done shortly after Burress was released from prison in June after serving nearly two years on weapons charges. Since then, he met with Coughlin and other members of the Giants during a visit to their offices in July when he was a free agent. Burress signed a one-year, $3.017 million deal with the Jets days later.
Burress has maintained it was a pleasant conversation that helped clear the air between them and provided some closure. Coughlin, though, said the meeting was for another reason, at least from his perspective.
''We were trying to decide whether and to what extent we were going to try to make an offer,'' Coughlin said. ''It wasn't about closure. It was about business. It is about going forward, which this is about.''
Judging from his remarks to Men's Journal, it seems like any reunion between Burress and the Giants was never really going to happen. He said he was saddened by the way Manning treated him when he was in prison.
"I was always his biggest supporter, even days he wasn't on, 'cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said. "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."
Burress said he was treated like an "ax murderer" in prison, confined to a 23-hour lockdown. In prison, he said he received cruel letters.
"I was a human pincushion; they were like, 'Yeah, we finally got you, mother[bleeper!]'" he said. "On the cover of the New York Post, it said 'GIANT IDIOT' and I'm thinking, 'Damn, I went and gave 'em what they wanted. I'm just another gun-toting, famous black athlete'."
Burress openly hit out at the fans who took pleasure in his confinement.
"What are you doing now?" he said. "You still mad at your job? You still angry about your life? 'Cause I'm back living my life and enjoying my family while you're still doing the same thing."
Burress also spoke about his feelings toward Bloomberg after the mayor publicly called for him to be harshly punished after the incident. "The way Bloomberg treated me was totally wrong, stacked those charges so high I had to go to jail," he said.
Burress said he now gets loads of positive letters from people, a complete change from what he was getting just a few months ago.
''It's like I'm more popular now for shooting myself than winning a Super Bowl!'' he said. ''Maybe they see a guy who made a mistake, but didn't hurt no one but himself. I mean, if you can't root for me, you must not own a mirror. All of us have made a big mistake, right?''
The article mentions how Burress was nearly robbed at his home in Totowa, N.J., a few days before the nightclub incident and how the murder of his friend and former Washington defensive back Sean Taylor helped shape his decision to carry a handgun — and how he nearly left his gun in his car that night.
''I had a conscience about it, but said, `Nope, I'm takin' it with me,''' he said. ''And that changed my life.''