I had to chuckle when I read New York Giants GM Jerry Reese’s comments on wide receiver/knucklehead Plaxico Burress. For those sports fans who do not read the police blotter, Burress is in a heap of trouble. He shot himself in the leg at a New York nightclub last fall and is facing 3 1/2 years in jail on an illegal weapons charge.
Burress is still tied to the Giants, though he essentially has blown the five-year, $35 million deal he signed last September. But conventional wisdom – in the zero-tolerance Michael Vick world – would say the franchise should be done with Plax. Like the Atlanta Falcons were done with Vick. Done
But no. Reese says the Giants would welcome back their wayward brother if he were to lean up his legalities and profess to a life of cleanliness (presumably without illegal handguns).
“If things work out and he’s on board with what we want coming back, we’d love to have him back,” general manager Jerry Reese says.
Let me break down the code:
If things work out … That means should Plax extricate himself from the U.S. legal system and endure the wrath of Goodell. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must get his pound of flesh.
…and he’s on board with what we want coming back. Lord knows what that means. That’s GM-speak for “if he decides to stop being stupid.” Uh, sure, he’ll tell you anything. But … I’m just sayin’. It ain’t easy to stop stupid.
So while most folks focused on the fact that Reese said the Giants would welcome Plax back, here’s a reality pill:
For starters, the Giants had no choice. Without Plax, their only true deep threat, they are predictable and, more importantly, stoppable. Teams packed the line of scrimmage and dared Eli Manning to beat them deep. He could not and the Giants went from first to fallible last season. With nothing different in sight.
Secondly, Reese must know in his gut that the chance Plax will pass his two criteria is none to none. Plax will be lucky to plea bargain his way out of jail before the start of the regular season. Then he’d have to endure at least a four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the penalty were eight games, half a season.
All that said, Reese would look like a benevolent big brother were he to allow Plax to return after he’d cleared those two hurdles.
And he’d be welcoming back the team’s “difference maker,” the guy who could lead them back to the Super Bowl.
By then, even Michael Vick might be back in the NFL.
No-brainer. No choice. Plax will be back. Duh.
Photo by AP