While the Giants are being coy about the possible return of Plaxico Burress to the team, the idea is gaining momentum as we get closer and closer to his June 6 release from prison.
“I think they’d love Plax,” Michael Strahan said of the Giants. “He and Eli, they were great together. He was Eli’s safety blanket and without that combination we don’t beat the Packers in cold Lambeau, we don’t win the Super Bowl without those two guys playing the way they did together. Plaxico’s not a bad guy, he just made a bad decision, a dumb decision, which cost him two years. I think he’ll be back, hopefully with the Giants, but whoever gets him he’ll be an asset.”
There are some who believe that Burress’ best chances at a return to the NFL will be elsewhere, away from the New York media that knows all of his sins and away from Tom Coughlin who may not have forgiven many of them. But Strahan said it makes the most sense for him to come back to the Giants.
“This is a guy you’re familiar with,” he said. “You know what he can do, he’s familiar with the coaching staff, familiar with the offense. It’s a guy who’s at home in New York. I think it would be a great addition with Nicks and Smith and those other guys they have.”
Even Steve Smith said it would be “cool” to have Burress back on the Giants. “He’s been there, he’s done that, so he can help guys,” Smith said. “We have a lot of talent at receiver anyway, so either way I think we’ll be alright.”
Not everyone is likely as enthusiastic about a possible reunion. At an event on Wednesday night to honor high school coaches, Kevin Gilbide was answering a question and began talking about the 2008 Giants that were clearly the best team in football until, as he said, tapping his thigh, “some fluke things happened.” There are a lot of people in the building who believe they’d have an extra Super Bowl ring if not for Plax’s “fluke thing.”
But Strahan said that if this past NFL season has taught us anything, it’s that players can be forgiven.
“I think the best thing to happen to Plaxico was Michael Vick,” he said. “It showed that hey, you did something, you served your time, you come out and you play and there is redemption. I think Michael Vick showed that to everybody. In the case of Plaxico, it’s something that he did that injured himself so I think there will probably be a lot more leeway with a Plaxico than there was with a Michael Vick. If you can forgive that, then there’s no way (you can’t forgive Burress). There are going to be some things written, but you have to forgive Plaxico.”
And if Strahan was running the Giants, would he welcome Burress back?
“If he got out at 4 o’clock,” he said, “he’d a Giant by 4:05.”