Plaxico Burress' eyes recognized someone in particular right away Sunday night, when he strolled over from the locker room to the place where family members relax until it's time to leave.
That would be 4-year-old son Elijah, the very same person Burress handed the ball to Sunday night following his first career touchdown as a Jet and first in nearly three seasons.
"He was the first person I saw when I went into the lounge, man," the wide receiver said. "Just to see him like that, have those emotions, a smile on his face, just talk to him, have fun. ... it was good. As soon as we got in the car, man he passed out.
"But it was good. He slept with the ball on his lap all the way home. And it’s just a good feeling."
Burress was a non-factor early on in the Jets' 27-24 come-from-behind victory, getting targeted by quarterback Mark Sanchez only once in the first half. Burress attributed that to some blitz packages and schematic things Dallas was doing that the Jets didn't totally expect.
He got going in the second half, posting four receptions for 72 yards, which includes that nifty 26-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that brought the Jets within 24-17with just under 12 minutes left.
"There’s no reason to get bent out of shape if I haven’t caught a ball in the first or second quarter," Burress said. "I know Schotty [offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheinmer] and Mark are trying to do the best job possible to get everybody involved. We’ve got a lot of playmakers on offense. We’ve got four or five guys that can catch the ball and do great things with it after the catch.
"So everybody is going to get their touches and I think as the season goes around, we’ll see who does well and we’ll put guys in that role and we’ll just let everybody play to their strengths."
That's what the Jets are looking to do with their third-year signal caller. Sanchez is constantly under a microscope, especially in the glaring New York media spotlight. But Burress, who knows a thing or two about playing with young quarterbacks (see: Manning, Eli), said playing the position and growing up right before people's eyes isn't the easiest thing to do.
"Playing quarterback in the National Football League is the hardest job in sports, other than being a goalie in the NHL or hitting a baseball," Burress said. "Quarterback, you have to be mentally sharp everyday and I understand that. It’s a role that you grow into over time and I think Mark understands that. We are going to go as he goes.
"He’s getting better, every day. We are working tirelessly to be on the same page and when we get on Sundays, to try to make it be easy. But everything is a process. He’s coming along and I expect for him to keep getting better, week in and week out."
Burress expects the same thing from himself as he works back into football shape after all that time he lost over the past two-plus seasons.
"My conditioning was a little better than I thought it would be, going through a whole fourth quarter," he said. "I’m not saying I didn’t know exactly where it was going to be, but for the most part, I felt pretty good. So maybe I’m in a little bit better shape than I actually thought I was in going through a whole game.
"So right now, I’m really just cleaning up my routes and fundamentals – like that comeback route in the fourth quarter. That was a comeback route that I should have came back to and I let the guy come in front of me, just little things that that I’ve got to keep rehearsing, keep working so I can be sharper."