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Tape of Burress won over Ryan

The New York Jets newest football player, Plaxico

The New York Jets newest football player, Plaxico Burress, left, talks to quarterback Mark Sanchez on the sidelines during the team's first official camp practice. (Aug. 1, 2011) Credit: AP

Rex Ryan didn't watch tape of Plaxico Burress until recently. When he did, he was sold to take the gamble on the 34-year old wide receiver, who has been out of football for almost three years. Ryan acknowledged it was a "leap of faith" adding Burress.

"I’m watching this tape and saying, ‘Oh my goodness,’" Ryan said. "Lets go get this guy. I totally got burned by Plaxico a million times when I was with Baltimore and he was with the Steelers and Giants. I remember it and it was ugly."

But Ryan figured out a way to stop him. In 2002 with the Ravens trailing by a big margin, Ravens cornerback James Trapp got into a fight with Burress when he was with the Steelers and both were ejected.

"We couldn’t stop him," Ryan said. "That’s one way we figured to stop him."

A layover flight might have stymied Burress, who spent 21 months in prison for accidentally shooting himself in a Manhattan nightclub, from landing with another organization. The Jets contacted him during a layover flight in Los Angeles as he was on his way to meet with the 49ers.

"We got him in between flights," Ryan said. "It's a good thing we did."

Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum visited Burress in May 2009 after his release from the Giants when his playing and legal situations were uncertain.

"We had a great meeting," Tannenbaum said. "We were really impressed with him. That meeting was the foundation that led to the signing."


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