NFL veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress (pictured) is getting another shot in the NFL. The former Super Bowl hero was signed to a year’s contract by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, reports the New York Daily News.
The 35-year-old gridiron player was on the New York Giants when his name was noted in sports history for catching the game-winning touchdown pass in the February 2008 Super Bowl against the then undefeated New England Patriots. Just four months after his noteworthy play, Burress’ life spiraled out of control when he was fired from his team for an accident that he brought on himself.
On November 29, 2008, Burress was at a New York City nightclub, walking up some stairs when an unlicensed pistol he had around his waist began to slip. The 6’5 athlete just happened to miss a step, causing the gun to slide further down and when Burress tried to catch it before it hit the ground — Boom! He was shot right in his thigh by his own gun. Burress did not realize he had shot himself until he felt his wet jeans and saw that his white Chuck Taylors were totally red.
Since New York City had zero tolerance for illegal gun possession, Burress was made out to be an example of what happens to someone in the Big Apple if caught with an unregistered firearm. So in July 2009, even after pleading with a grand jury for sympathy, he was indicted and received two years in prison for the gun charge.
He was released in 2011.
Burress was a 2000 draft pick of the Steelers, staying with the team through 2004 and racking up 22 touchdowns. Last season, following his release from prison, Burress signed a year’s contract for $3.17 million with the Jets after the Steelers gave him a courtesy meeting. The Jets however did not elect to bring Burress back because as rumor has it, he never developed a chemistry with their star player quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Now, history has repeated itself as Burress returns to the bosom of the first NFL team to employ him. But does he still got what it takes to take the team to big wins?
According to sports analysts, the Steelers are a decimated team in dire need of healthy bodies right about now. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is nursing fractured ribs. Wide receiver Antonio Brown is taking care of an ankle injury. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is laid up with a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated first rib. Second stringer Byron Leftwich is also recuperating from fractured ribs.
According to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Burress is looking pretty good right about now, telling the Daily News:
”He’s in really good physical condition based on the workout I just saw. He’s got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points and obviously he’s no stranger to football.”