Former jailbird Plaxico Burress has gone from lockup to locking down a multimillion-dollar contract with the Jets on Sunday, a move that some observers say will get a rousing reception from fans.
“Now that he’s a Jet, everyone’s going to be rallying around him,” said JetNation.com blogger Tyson Rauch. “I think a lot of fans already think he served too much [prison] time.”
Burress’ anticipated return to the NFL – and to New York after helping the Giants nab the Super Bowl title in 2008 – follows gun charges that put him in an upstate correctional facility for nearly two years. He was released in June.
Burress, who turns 34 this month, is set to make more than $3 million as a wide receiver on Gang Green for one year, according to ESPN – an offer that neither the Giants nor the Pittsburgh Steelers, another of his former teams, could match.
“Pretty much where I’m at right now, I’m in a great place and I really believe that everything happens for it’s own reason,” Burress reportedly said in a conference call Sunday. The Jets website was already selling his jersey – number to be determined – for $80.
Marc Greenberg, of thejetpress.com, said Burress’ arrest was embarrassing, but he won’t have to tackle the same backlash that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick endured after serving time in 2007 for running a dog-fighting ring.
In November 2008, Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh with an unlicensed handgun tucked into his sweatpants at a Manhattan nightclub.
He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon as part of a plea deal.
The incident derailed Burress’ promising career and made him the target of late-night comics.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has a knack for “bringing aboard people who have problems in their life and have something to prove,” Greenberg said. “From the Jets’ standpoint, I think Plaxico will fit in absolutely perfectly.”