Could anyone be more wrong than F. Scott Fitzgerald when he said there are no second acts in American lives? In case sports fans had any doubts, comes now Plaxico Burress to lay them to rest. The former New York Giants star, who served nearly two years in prison after idiotically carrying a concealed gun into a nightclub and then shooting himself in the leg, has signed a one-year, $3 million deal to catch passes for the New York Jets.

The latter aren't afraid of players who've made mistakes (Santonio Holmes was suspended last year for violating the league's substance- abuse policy), and we wish them every success with their new wide receiver. It's not that we're especially pro-Jets. It's just that the possibility of second chances is one of the things that makes America great.

Knowing there are do-overs makes entrepreneurs, inventors and other ambitious types more willing to risk failure -- and more likely to achieve huge success.

People inclined to take the wrong risks still face severe penalties, and Burress himself has paid dearly, for his misstep. Besides prison, he blew up a $35 million deal with the Giants.

Time will tell if Burress is any wiser now. But he's paid for his sins, and if he can turn his life around, more power to him -- and everyone else who works to rebuild a life. Football fans will likely be open-minded. If he can make some big plays once the curtain goes up on his second act this fall, they'll gladly forget his dismal first.hN