American football wide receiver Plaxico Burress started his career at Michigan State University. As part of the NFL he has played for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. In 2008, he helped secure a win at Super Bowl XLII. That same year, Burress suffered an accidental self-inflicted gun wound. He went to prison for criminal possession of a handgun and returned to the NFL in 2011.
Early Athletic Prowess
Football player. Born on August 12th, 1977, in Norfolk, Virginia. Burress excelled at football during his high school years in Virginia. While a student at Green Run High School, he was named to the Parade magazine All-America football team, among many other accolades.
Burress went on to Michigan State University. During his first year there, he set a record for the most passes caught in a single season—65—by a member of the Big Ten team. He also ranked near the top in terms of touchdown catches, receptions, and receiving yards. Playing in the 2000 Citrus Bowl, Burress helped his team secure a victory over the University of Florida by scoring three touchdowns and 13 receptions for 185 yards.
The eighth player picked in the 2000 NFL draft, Burress joined the Pittsburgh Steelers. He only played 12 games in his first season because he needed surgery to repair a wrist injury. During the next two seasons, Burress performed well, scoring six touchdowns in 2001 and seven in 2002. He also caught 78 passes for 1,325 yards—a career high—in 2002. Off the field, however, Burress developed a reputation for being a problem player. He was known to show up late to team meetings, and skipped a training camp program without informing the team, according to Sports Illustrated.
Success with the NY Giants
Haunted by his reputation, Burress found his options limited when he became a free agent in 2004. The Steelers decided not re-sign him, but he eventually worked out a six-year $25 million deal with the New York Giants. In his first season with the team, Burress gave an impressive performance. He scored seven touchdowns and 76 receptions for 1,214 yards. He made a strong addition to the team, which already had talented wide receiver Amani Toomer on board. Burress also seemed to work well with the team's quarterback Eli Manning.
In 2008, Burress and Manning made a powerful duo at Super Bowl XLII. Helping clinch the win over the New England Patriots, Burress caught a pass by Manning and made a touchdown in the final 35 seconds of the game to make the final score 17 to 14. The next season, however, got off to a rocky start. He was suspended for one game in September of 2008 for violating team rules. A few months later, however, Burress got in trouble with more than just the team's coaches and management.
On the night of November 28th, 2008, Burress went to a Manhattan nightclub with teammate Antonio Pierce. Burress was carrying an illegal handgun in the waistband of his pants. According to an Associated Press report, Burress grabbed for the gun when it started slipping down his leg and he ended up shooting himself in the thigh in the process. He went to a hospital for treatment. A few days later, Burress was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in connection to the incident. He is currently out on a $100,000 bond.
After the incident, Burress was suspended by the Giants for the rest of the season and fined. He was later sentenced to 20 months on weapon-related charges.
Released from jail in June 2011, Burress got himself reinstated with the NFL. He then signed on with the New York Jets for the 2011 season. Sporting News named Burress the Comeback Player of the Year, but others felt the wide receiver had not lived up to his full potential.
Burress re-signed with the Steelers in late November 2012, but a torn rotator cuff knocked him out of action for the entire 2013 season and effectively ended his playing career. He joined SportsNet New York as a football analyst in 2014.
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