After nine full seasons in the NFL and two years in jail, nothing surprises Plaxico Burress anymore.
Sure, the news of Derrick Mason’s late-hour trade to Houston (for next to nothing) caught him and the rest of the Jets off-guard. But as one player after another said Wednesday: It’s business.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it,” said Burress.
Some, like right guard Brandon Moore, believed the media made too much of the timing of Mason’s departure. But others, like safety Jim Leonhard said it “potentially” could have been done to send a message.
“They do things for the betterment of this organization and this team, so we’re not going to question and why they do it,” he said.
Leonhard, who spent the 2008 season with Mason in Baltimore, said the unexpected news was tough to take, but he understands it.
“He’s a true warrior,” he said of the veteran, who became just the 18th player in NFL history to record 12,000 receiving yards. “You look at what he’s done and how long he’s done it, he’s a very productive player in this league. So when the organization makes a move like this, you know they felt like something needed to be done. Because they know what type of player he is, Rex knows what type of player he is.”
General manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan both denied that the trade had anything to do with Mason’s recent comments about the team’s struggling offense or sending a message to their players.
“The only message you see is that he’s not here no more,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis. “...I don’t think it’s to try to scare us in any way, form or fashion. I don’t think Mike would do that and Rex would go about it that way.”
Burress, who spent a semester with Mason at Michigan State, agreed.
“It’s nothing personal towards D. Mase or anything like that,” he said. “I guess they felt they had to make that decision and D. Mason was the guy that was let go. I don’t think it’s anything personal towards him or to send a message to anyone else. It’s more a business move for what both teams are trying to accomplish, us and Houston. And like I said, they got a great player going into a great situation and he’s going to be very productive.”
Though the assumption of the masses is that Mason was dealt because of his mouth, Burress said he’s not worried about speaking his mind.
“He wouldn’t be around this league, playing for 15 years and having success, if the guy didn’t know what he was talking about,” he said of Mason. “I’m going to stand behind my guy 100 percent. He’s a great player, 12,000 career yards, 15 seasons, I mean, what can you say about a guy who pretty much has done everything you can do in this league?”