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Plax lends a helping hand

Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Jets

Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Jets celebrates his third touchdown of the game against the San Diego Chargers. (Oct. 23, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Plaxico Burress sure enjoyed his time in Virginia Beach yesterday, visiting with his old high school and handing out food to the underprivileged.

The wide receiver handed out turkeys and hams at Green Run High School, and also took some excess food to the Virginia Beach homeless shelters, all in an attempt to bless as many families as he could with his charity -- The Plaxico Burress Foundation.

"Aw, man, it was just a beautiful day, beautiful event," the wide receiver said this afternoon, standing in front of his locker. "It’s been going on the past two years while I was away. My wife and my family, all those things were still going on. For me to go back and do it for the first time in two years, it’s always been a special day for me because I grew up in that area, grew up in that community and know what it’s like not to have food on Thanksgiving Day.

"But for me to be over there and be present and [hear] people crying and going through different emotions, it was just a beautiful thing to do."

Burress was excused from practice yesterday and today, something that initially raised a few eyebrows given the Jets' current two-game slide that has them on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture. But Burress echoed what Rex Ryan said yesterday, explaining he had this in the works for months.

"When you plan these events throughout the season, you usually try to make them happen on Mondays and Tuesdays," Burress said, "and it was a strange thing that happened to us that we played on a Thursday and my event fell on a Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday is usually a league day off and it just happened that our schedule wasn’t accordingly.

"But I just thank Rex, Mike Tannenbaum and Woody [Johnson] for letting me go out and fulfill my obligations, and meet my commitment throughout the community and different things that I want to do with my foundation, and charity and just go out and help people."

Burress arrived back in town last night, changing up his plans on the fly. He wasn't due back to the Jets facility until tomorrow, but decided to come in today so he could catch up on as much as he could as the Jets prepare to take on the Bills.

Despite returning home last night, Burress couldn't come to the facility in time for the Jets' noon practice because he had a date at East Harlem's Central Park East Middle School. Burress has a program that honors the school's top 17 students, a way he figured he can help students in one of the five borough's toughest district's strive for success.

"I think it’s the most violent school in New York City and I have a rewards program with the kids," Burress said. "I’ll be bringing those kids to the game this weekend – 17 of those kids – and I donated 20 computers to the school. So it’s just my way of recognizing and trying to encourage those kids in that community.

"It’s a violent community and we are just trying to support them and encourage them, just set a foundation to do well in life and in school."

Burress is glad he has a coach like Ryan who understood how important it was for him to keep his promises.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I think it just says a lot about him and the organization enough in itself, being able to let me go out and fulfill my commitments and obligations because I would’ve felt horrible. It wouldn’t have sent a good message about me and the different things that I’m trying to do, being that I committed to help those kids and help these families throughout.

"So it’s just refreshing to be able to fulfill that commitment and see the smiles on their faces, and everybody is blessed and everybody is happy, and just come back to work." 

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