Former Pittsburgh Steeler and New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is expected to finally be released from prison on June 6th after he, well, shot himself inside a New York Nightclub. Actually the charge is illegal gun possession. But that doesn't roll off the tongue like saying, he shot himself... in the damned leg. Either way, Burress was sent to prison for a two year sentence.
What does that mean for all of us?
Once Burress is released from prison, the wide receiver is expected to try and catch on with a team for the 2011 season -- a good time to reenter the league, considering the players will likely be locked out, allowing more time to market himself. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spoke glowingly about Burress' status.
Just visited with client Plaxico Burress. He is doing great! He is running & lifting weights 5 days a week. He looks in terrific shape...
"We talked at length about his future in the NFL & he can't wait to get back on the football field in 2011! He is mentally & physically strong right now and is looking forward to the future! He has set some great goals for his life on and off the field. Get ready to see him do some amazing things this year in all areas!"
We're not exactly sure which file Rosenhaus' comments are filed under, but we're pretty sure the name starts with "Generic Talking Points For Free Agent In 2011." Chad Ochocinco says, "Hey didn't you say that about me too?" Rosenhaus: "Next question."
Burress was denied work release last summer, meaning he remains in prison, only to reenter society with the world already consumed by Bieber Fever.
Normally we wouldn't say that Burress doesn't have a chance of joining the Bengals. However, we know better than that.
Let's get the most obvious out of the way: The Bengals have been known to give second chances to players. Wide receiver. Prison time. No one wants him. Mike Brown will take them. Cedric Benson turned out alright, becoming a sort of leader on offense. Adam Jones minded his own business, staying out of trouble. Chris Henry's second chance with the Bengals led to a lot stories that he had finally got his life together before his tragic death in 2009. Tank Johnson went from munitions factory in his basement, to having a final a decent rebound as a rotational defensive tackle during the team's 2009 playoff run.
That being said, why wouldn't Mike Brown pass on a veteran wide receiver that stands 6'5"; an imposing size that quarterback Carson Palmer likes.
And yes, the Bengals could view the veteran aspect with added weight this offseason. If the team releases, or trades Chad Ochocinco once the CBA is resolved, the question is, do the Bengals feel comfortable with Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell? All three receivers, who would be the team's top receivers in 2011, have a combined 66 games of experience and 160 career receptions. And even if the team does draft a wide receiver, there's no reason to believe that a rookie receiver, who arguably has the biggest adjustment during the college-to-NFL transition (save for quarterbacks), will make that much of an impact.
That being said. Burress hasn't played a down since 2008 and during his nine seasons in the NFL, he's never recorded an 80-receiving season and Chad Ochocinco dominated Burress in nearly every statistical category -- which argues for Chad if the team decides to keep him as a veteran presence. The Bengals have an opportunity to develop their younger wide receivers, something they should have done in 2009 by not signing Laveranues Coles.
Even though I am specifically saying right now that I don't support the move, some will say that I'm supporting the move. That being said, can you say with any certainty that the team won't attempt to sign Burress?
Dawgs By Nature asks the same question, with an overwhelming yes in their poll.