That’ll do it for Plaxico Burress’ career as a New York Giants and pending the result of his March 31st court date, that might do it for his NFL career.
To think that last week Plaxico was just out for a week or two with a hamstring injury, set to return in time for the postseason and the Giants run at a second straight championship. Now, he is the face of television, in a bad way, and facing jail time, rather than facing the Eagles in East Rutherford.
Ever since Plaxico was suspended against Seattle early on I had backed him saying that he just messed up and that he wasn’t a problem to the team the way Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey had been poor “teammates.” And after he skipped some more meetings and injury checkups, I still let it slide. Part of me knew that he was out of line and just being stupid, but the other part of me remembered the guy that carried the team in the NFC Championship, closely predicted the score of the Super Bowl, and made good on his prediction by catching the game-winning touchdown pass. And the constant image played during games showing he and Eli Manning have more touchdown passes between any quarterback/wide receiver combination in the league in so many years, brought a smile to Giants fans faces.
So on Saturday when I signed online to check out previews of the weekend from around the internet, my first stop was to Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News’ blog and there I found out what had happened with Plaxico at the club. And every site after that had reports of Plax shooting himself accidentally in the leg. At first I didn’t think much of the incident, accept for the fact that this would be a setback to him returning to the field. Then the law of carrying a concealed weapon in New York began to surface and that is when everyone knew that there was trouble ahead. But like I wrote on this site this past weekend, I wasn’t a bit surprised that Plaxico had committed such a ridiculous act, and it was just the icing on the cake of what has been a horrible off-the-field year for a player with so much talent.
Even though I had let him slide all year while many others called for him to be cut or traded, this latest incident could not be seen as “Plaxico being Plaxico,” but rather Plaxico finally becoming a cancer to the New York Giants. If Plaxico wants to skip meetings, or practice, or checkups with trainers, that’s his problem and he will lose out on salary. But the minute that other players, in this case Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw, are brought down because of someone else’s actions, well that is where you draw the line.
If Plaxico feels that he wants to give some of $35 million contract back to the Giants and the NFL with unneccesary fines, then so be it. It’s his money. But when he starts to become a bad influence on other key members of a team, a team that is 11-1, a team that is in first place, and a team that has a very real chance of repeating as champions, then it is time for that player to go.
Heading into his long meeting with the Giants front office today, there was little to no chance that there would be a No. 17 on the active roster the rest of the season. And after hours of conferences, including a trip to get a MRI on his recently shot leg, it was announced that Plaxico Burress would not be a member of the Giants for the rest of the 2008 regular season and playoffs.
And now that Plaxico is no longer a Giant (at least for the time being) and most likely forever, there is really no need for me to worry about him any longer or comment or report on any news regarding him. But it’s hard not to think what is going to happen to the man who was a hero in the tri-state area only 10 months ago.
Since he came to the Giants in 2005, Plaxico has been as good as advertised. Sure he was a headache to the coaching staff and front office, but according to quotes from teammates, that’s just who he is. But as a fan and someone who enjoyed watching him play and helping the Giants to four consecutive postseason appearances and a championship, I’d have to say he was worth the money while he played. And while its tough to see such a key contributor to the magical 2007 season go in such a tough way, there is no one to blame but himself.
Will Plaxico go to jail? I’m not sure, but I would have to say I don’t like his chances of avoiding jail time. Will he ever play in the NFL again? I’d have to think so given the fact that Adam Jones and Tank Johnson were both given several chances to remain in the league. But one thing is certain, he won’t wear the “NY” again. Unless the Jets pick him up one day.