Gone In A New York Minute

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: December 4, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — In a move that quickly signaled the end of troubled receiver Plaxico Burress’ career with the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants, the team announced on Tuesday that Burress was placed on the non-football injury list and was suspended/fined for the remaining four games of the 2008 NFL season.

Burress, who reported first thing Tuesday morning for injury treatment, had to have known that the Giants had seen enough of his “sorry” act.

Burress continually brought more problems off the field than he was worth playing on Sundays, especially after he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh over the weekend at a Manhattan nightclub causing a firestorm of media activity.

The former Super Bowl hero had met individually with Giants president John Mara, general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin at the Giants facilities on Tuesday and you could tell right away the team’s brass was ready to move on.

Reese said of the Giants latest move, “The decision we made today regarding Plaxico’s roster status was based on the examination of Plaxico by our team physician. Dr. Rodeo believes Plaxico would be out at least four to six weeks with the gunshot wound.”

“I had two conversations with Plaxico today, and it was obvious that he understood the magnitude of this situation. He knows that we are here to support him and help him get healthy.”

The Giants moves clearly points to the team looking to jettison their immensely talented but troubled receiver this off-season and you can expect the G-Men to go after the $11 million in guarantee bonuses that Burress has already received — the Giants would save approximately $23 million on the 2009 salary cap by releasing Burress.

Of course all of the football aspects pale in comparision to the legal wranglings going on with Burress. The 31-year old, who posted $100,000 bail on Monday, has been charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon that could result in a prison sentence of three and a half to 15 years, if convicted.

To make matters worse there will surely be more dirt dug up in this case’s investigation as there have been alleged reports of the gunshot wound being treated anonymously at a hospital and Burress’ teammate linebacker Antonio Pierce allegedly being involved in events after the shooting.

Only time will tell if Burress can return to the NFL, but the Giants have moved on and you have to give the “team” credit. Remember, “No One is bigger than the team” in Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s book.

The Giants truly are a team focused on their goal of winning the Super Bowl again after some scoffed at their 2007 championship claiming that Big Blue was lucky to get hot at the end of last year – could be the first defending Super Bowl Champion to go 15-1.

In my opinion they don’t need the enigmatic Burress — In an underachieving 2008 season, only had 35 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns — as receivers Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, Domenick Hixon and TE Kevin Boss are ready to step up to become Eli Manning’s new favorite target.

Last year we saw the G-Men roll through the playoffs without problematic tight end Jeremy Shockey and now the team’s unity will be tested without the individualistic Burress — career numbers of 244 catches for 3681 yards and 33 TDs.

Did I also mention that the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL in 2005 after they wanted no parts of re-signing Burress after a tumultuous 2004 season.