Question of the Day: Would you pick up Plaxico Burress, and where do you think he'll end up? [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss former NFL star Plaxico Burress, who was released from prison on Monday. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
For a team to really want Plaxico Burress, a lot of planets will have to be aligned. The team will have to know Burress well. It will have to be able to get him at a reasonable price. It will need a strong coach who can handle Burress. It should be a veteran team with an established quarterback. And it will have to be able to live with the possibility of Burress being a backup receiver who does not contribute on special teams.
Burress will be 34 years old soon. He hasn't played football for two years. He has a history of not always doing what he is expected to do. If he is able to play anywhere near the level he played at prior to his incarceration, he will have beaten long odds. Most teams, understandably, won't be interested. He could, however, fit with the Jets.
Like Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress deserves another chance to play in the NFL. Unless you already have a big receiver or are concerned about locker room issues, how can you not consider adding a proven 6-foot-5 target who had the winning catch in a Super Bowl?
The down side is that Burress will be 34 in August and he's not a speed guy. But he would be a weapon in the red zone, assuming 21 months in prison have not stripped him of his receiving skills. Because he will be on parole for two years, you could reasonably expect him to walk the straight and narrow.
Who takes the chance? Look for the Jets to make a big push, the Eagles to try for a bargain and the Rams to try to entice him with Sam Bradford -- and look for the Jets to win.
[Updated at 2:24 p.m.:
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Although Drew Rosenhaus thinks Plaxico Burress will be a "top free agent," it's hard to imagine that a 34-year-old receiver who hasn't played since November 2008 will spark a bidding war, especially when free agency -- whenever that happens -- will be flush with similar receivers. Terrell Owens will be looking for a new team, as will Randy Moss and Sidney Rice.
Plus, what kind of shape is Burress in? How does he run? What's his mentality like after his prison term?
The most-mentioned landing spots for Burress have been St. Louis and Philadelphia, and both of those make sense. With the Rams, he would be reunited with former Giants assistant Steve Spagnuolo. In Philly, Burress would get to face his former team twice a season and would augment one of the most talented groups of receivers in football -- one that could eventually lose DeSean Jackson to free agency.
I'd put the Rams as the most likely candidate, but wouldn't rule out the Jets, Buccaneers or Plaxico's old team, the Steelers, either.
Joseph Moskowitz, Allentown Morning Call
The criminal-record and locker-room issues attached to Plaxico Burress are no reason not to sign him. In a league practically built on second chances, Burress deserves another shot (figuratively speaking). And remember, the only thing seriously hurt in his shooting incident two years ago was his ego. Other second-chance NFL players have committed or been charged with far more destructive crimes.
Burress' age is a concern -- he will be 34 in August -- but he still has plenty left to give. Baltimore or St. Louis might be interested, but Burress donned a Philadelphia Phillies hat on being released from prison on Monday. Maybe his wardrobe choice was coincidental. More likely it was a message that he'd like to join Michael Vick's ex-con-a-thon in Philly. And the Eagles, in need of a big target in the red zone, might just bite.]
Photo: Plaxico Burress gestures from a car after being released from the Oneida County Correction Facility in Rome, N.Y., on Monday. Credit: Heather Ainsworth / Associated Press