The next deal Plaxico Burress makes will likely be with an NFL team, not the district attorney's office.
The former Giants wide receiver appeared briefly in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday morning to receive a second adjournment in his weapons possession case. His next court date was set for Sept. 23, at which point he'll either be indicted by a grand jury and plead not guilty according to his attorney or be cleared of the charges.
"Given the present posture of this case, I do not see any reason why he should not be able to play this entire season," said Benjamin Brafman, Burress' lead defense attorney. "Even if there is an indictment, it's inconceivable to me at its present posture that this case would receive a trial until the spring of 2010."
Burress was released by the Giants in April and is free to sign with any NFL team. At least three have reportedly shown interest in acquiring Burress, including the Jets, who have reached out to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Those teams the Buccaneers and Bears are believed to be the other two are monitoring Burress' legal issues as well as the possibility of the NFL penalizing him with a suspension.
"He should be able to play," Brafman said. "It's my understanding that so long as he is only accused of an offense and there is no resolution, that there is no legal basis for him to be prevented from playing football."
According to NFL Personal Conduct Policy: "While criminal activity is clearly outside the scope of permissible conduct, and persons who engage in criminal activity will be subject to discipline, the standard of conduct for persons employed in the NFL is considerably higher." The policy goes on to state that discipline may imposed in any number of circumstances, including "conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person" and "conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL."
Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on Monday, "We reserve the right to make a decision at the appropriate time."
Burress faces two second-degree felony charges stemming from the Nov. 29 incident in which he accidentally shot himself in the leg while at a Manhattan night club. Those charges carry a three and a half year minimum sentence and are usually reduced through plea agreement, although Brafman said that is unlikely to happen here.
"I don't think there will be any continuing negotiations (with the district attorney) at this time," he said.
Brafman also called the incident a "sad, unfortunate case."
"No one was injured in this, the gun was lawfully registered," he said. "The gun was not used in the commission of a crime. There is no victim in this case besides Plaxico Burress."
"It's not a legal defense but it is a factor that has to be considered by everyone," he said.