Former Colts and Bucs coach Tony Dungy, who will play a mentoring role with Plaxico Burress in the weeks and months ahead, said today that the former Giants' receiver believes he will be a better receiver when he returns to the NFL.
"Plax told me he can be better," Dungy said today at a press briefing to announce Burress' partnership with the National Urban League and the Brady Center for Prevention of Gun Violence. "He said, 'I was banged up my last year [with the Giants in 2008]. I wasn't healthy. I haven't been able to run and work out like I would, but I'm healed up, so I can be better."
Dungy admits to having some doubts about whether Burress, who had hamstring problems before hurting himself further in a self-shooting in November, 2008, can be better after missing the last two seasons and making his return at age 34. But after watching Michael Vick, another player Dungy mentored during and after his incarceration on dogfighting charges, he won't discount the possibility.
"I have to let that one play out because Mike told me, 'Coach, I can be better than I was, because I didn’t really apply myself. I didn’t work at it. And if I get an opportunity, I can be better,'" Dungy said. "I didn’t believe that. [But] after what happened with Mike, I can’t doubt it. Something that as a coach tells me I don’t believe that, but I’ll have to let that play out and see."
Dungy has seen reports linking Burress to the Eagles, in part because of Vick's presence. But the former coach isn't quite sure that will happen.
"I don’t know that that would be the case," he said. "I think [Burress] wants to get some place where he’s wanted, where he’s comfortable. I don’t think playing football is THE most important thing. Just like with Mike, I think it becomes important, but not THE most important thing."