By Charlie Wilmoth,
Plaxico Burress is reportedly coming back to the team that drafted him.
In the context of the Steelers’ season, or in the eyes of sports betting pundits, this wouldn’t be a particularly glamorous move. The Steelers need another body after losing Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery to injury, and Burress happens to be it. (Coincidentally, Burress, who played last season with the Jets, was a reason why Cotchery made his way from the Jets to the Steelers in the first place.) There’s no reason to expect him to make much of an impact on the field.
For Burress, though, his return to the Steelers marks the end — or perhaps just another chapter — in a strange trip. The Steelers drafted him with the No. 8 overall pick in 2000, and he spent five seasons in Pittsburgh, racking up over 1,000 yards in both 2001 and 2002.
After signing a lucrative contract with the New York Giants, he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII and posted one more 1,000-yard season in the process.
And then … he went down. He infamously accidentally shot himself in a club in November 2008. The Giants released him, and he spent two years in jail. When he got out, in 2011, he was about to turn 34. 34-year-old wide receivers don’t have much of a track record anyway, even when they haven’t spent the last two years in prison. Nevertheless, Burress was back to playing NFL games just a few months later, and he caught 45 passes for 612 yards for the Jets that year.
Now Burress is 35, and he appears to be coming back to the team that originally drafted him. Does he have anything left in the tank? Who knows? Will he get much of a chance? Probably not a huge one. But judging from his inability to find a team this offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising if this were his last stop. If that turns out to be the case, it’ll put a cap on what’s been a strange career.