Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: August 12 1977 (1977-08-12) (age 43)
Place of birth: Norfolk, Virginia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
College: Michigan State
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Debuted in 2000 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Career history
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2000–2004)
  • New York Giants (2005–2008)
Roster status: Suspended
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× All-Big Ten (1998–1999)
  • Super Bowl champion (XLII)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008
Receptions 505
Receiving yards 7,845
Receiving TDs 55
Stats at NFL.com

Plaxico Antonio Burress (pronounced /ˈplɛksɪkoʊ ˈbɜrəs/ PLEKS-i-koh; born August 12, 1977 in Norfolk, Virginia) is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He has played in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. He is currently serving a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to weapons charges, but with time off for good behavior he will most likely serve 20 months and be eligible for release in early 2011.[1]

College career[edit | edit source]

Burress set a Big Ten Conference single-season record by catching 65 passes in his first season at Michigan State, and also excelled on the special-teams coverage units, using his outstanding leaping ability as a kick blocker. He ranks second in career touchdown catches (20), third in receptions (131), and fourth in receiving yards (2,155) in just two seasons at Michigan State University. He was an All-American second-team selection by SportsPage.com and an All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick in 1999. Burress broke his own school season-record that he set in 1998 (65 catches) with 66 receptions for 1,142 yards (17.3 avg) and 12 touchdowns. He established Spartans' single-season-record 12 touchdown receptions, eclipsing the previous record of eight that Burress shared (1998) with Andre Rison (1988) and Bob Carey (1949). He forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble, and registered seven tackles (five solos) on special teams. Burress then set a school record with 255 yards receiving on ten catches against the University of Michigan. He finally closed out his career with a school-record 13 receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns against the University of Florida in the 2000 Citrus Bowl. He also broke the single-game record of 12 receptions set by tight end Mitch Lyons in 1992. In 1996, he caught 33 passes for 807 yards (24.5 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. Burress was an All–Big Ten Conference first-team selection in 1998 by The Sports Network, and he earned second-team accolades from the league's media. He shared Spartan Outstanding Underclass Back Award honors with tailback Sedrick Irvin and wide receiver Gari Scott. Also, he started All Year at split end and established a school season-record with 65 receptions, topping the previous mark of 60 catches by Courtney Hawkins in 1989. He had more than 100 yards receiving in four games and is ranked third in the conference with an average of 84.4 yards per game and fifth in the conference with an average of 5.4 catches per game. He recorded six solo tackles and forced a fumble on special teams.

Professional career[edit | edit source]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit | edit source]

After being drafted eighth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Burress went on to play five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, amassing 261 receptions for 4,164 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only six fumbles over the span of 71 games. Burress was featured on the MTV show True Life, documenting his rookie season. [2] He first broke the 1,000-yard mark in his second season, gaining 1,008 yards on 66 receptions. Burress's best season with the Steelers came in 2002, when he set his career highs for receptions (78) and yards (1,325), to go along with seven touchdowns. Also in 2002, Burress played in his first career playoff game, accumulating six receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. In three subsequent playoff games with the Steelers, Burress totaled only seven receptions, 123 yards, and one touchdown.

Burress's 1,008-yard season in 2001, combined with Hines Ward's 1,003 receiving yards, gave the Steelers their first pair of 1,000-yard receivers.[3] The two would combine to accomplish the same feat in 2002.[4] On November 10, 2002, Burress took advantage of an extra 15 minutes of play to set a Steelers franchise record with 253 receiving yards in a 34–34 tie against the Atlanta Falcons. He caught nine passes and scored two touchdowns in the game.[3]

New York Giants[edit | edit source]

On January 23, 2005, after a playoff defeat, Burress announced his intentions to leave the Steelers. On March 17, he signed a six-year, $25 million contract with the New York Giants.[5]

In his first season playing for New York, Burress caught 76 passes for 1,214 yards, helping the team earn an 11–5 record, good enough for first place in the NFC East as well as the NFC's fourth seed. However, they were shutout 23–0 by the Carolina Panthers in the opening round of the 2005–06 NFL playoffs.

In the 2006 season, Burress managed a career high in touchdowns with ten but fell short of the 1,000-yard mark, appearing in only 15 games and struggling with a groin injury for much of the year. The Giants dropped six of their last eight games and fell in the NFC Wild Card playoffs to the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles 23–20. Burress had a touchdown catch on the opening drive and finished the game with five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

In 2007, Burress was the Giants' top receiver with 70 receptions for 1,025 yards, despite not practicing all season because of his ailing ankle. He also set a franchise playoff record in the NFC title game in Green Bay with 11 receptions for 154 yards as the Giants advanced to Super Bowl XLII.

In Super Bowl XLII, Burress caught the game-winning pass that made the score 17–14 in the Giants favor. He gained some measure of "Super Bowl legend" by predicting a Giants win, and by further saying that the Patriots would be beaten by the score 23–17.[6] Also, Burress was suffering from a serious leg injury and had very limited work in pregame practice so he was able to get treatment and play in the Super Bowl. Ironically, Burress' limited work benefited the Giants in the Super Bowl because David Tyree received more repetitions in practice as Burress was recovering, and Tyree went on to make the "Helmet Catch" and a touchdown reception in the Super Bowl.

Before their May mini-camp, Burress and his fellow teammates were invited by former President George W. Bush to the White House on April 30, 2008 to honor their victory in Super Bowl XLII.[7]

Just before the start of the Giants mandatory May mini-camp, Burress had said that he would not participate in the camp because he was upset with his contract.[8] He attended the camp to avoid paying a fine but refused to practice with the team.[9] Although he was slated to receive $3.25 million for 2008, Burress felt underpaid compared to other star receivers.[9] After indicating that he might hold out training camp as well,[8] he joined, but practiced very little, claiming his ankle was injured.[10]

On September 24, 2008, the team announced that Burress would be suspended for the game on October 5 for a violation of team rules.[11] He did not show up for work on a Monday and could not be reached by phone for two days. This was not the first time that Burress had been temporarily suspended by an NFL team—in May 2004, he was suspended by the Pittsburgh Steelers for failing to show up for a Monday team practice. On October 24 he was issued three fines totaling $45,000 for the following reasons:

  1. $20,000 for post game comments regarding officiating—specifically, inappropriate comments on officiating.
  2. $20,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct—specifically, verbal abuse of the head linesman.
  3. $5,000 for throwing the ball in the stands.

Burress signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension prior to the season. However, it was an incentive laced deal, there is $11.5 million in non-guaranteed base salaries in the contract, non-guaranteed roster bonuses of $3.5 million, non-guaranteed escalators of $5 million based on performance and $1.3 million in non-guaranteed workout bonuses among other things. According to various reports, the Giants would be able to cut or trade Burress after the season and get $23 million taken off their books [12]

On November 2, in the second quarter of the Giants first regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys, Burress caught his 500th career reception. On November 23, 2008 Burress started the game against the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona after being considered questionable with a hamstring injury. The first play of the game he had a 4 yard reception but it was called back on a penalty. Burress left the game and did not return in what would be his final appearance with the Giants.

Burress was released by the Giants on April 3, 2009.[13]

] Possible Return[edit | edit source]

Burress has stated "I will play again", in an interview from prison with former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. Burress has stated he has been keeping in shape while in prison and works out about four times a week.[14]

Legal troubles[edit | edit source]

Domestic disturbances[edit | edit source]

In August and September 2008, Totowa police responded to two domestic disturbance calls at the Burress household. At both times temporary restraining orders were issued that were later dismissed by state court.[15]

Civil lawsuits[edit | edit source]

In January 2009, Burress was the defendant in a civil lawsuit brought against him by a Lebanon County, Pennsylvania car dealer, who claimed that Burress was given a leased Chevrolet Avalanche in return for promises to appear at publicity events for the dealership. The dealer claimed that Burress never returned the car and never attended any publicity events; the damaged car was eventually returned after being impounded by the New York Police Department. Burress acknowledged that he was responsible for some of the damage to the car, but asked a jury to determine the amount.[16] On January 15, 2009 the jury returned a verdict awarding only $1,700 to the dealer, who had asked for damages of up to $19,000.[17] According to the Associated Press, Burress has been sued at least nine times since he joined the NFL in 2000.[18]

He has a civil lawsuit pending against him in Broward County, Florida, where a woman claims that his $140,000 Mercedes-Benz collided with the back of her car. The suit, filed on December 8, 2008, claims that Burress was liable for causing permanent injuries to the woman. It is noted that because Burress failed to pay his car insurance premium his policy was cancelled 3 days before the accident.[19]

Accidental shooting[edit | edit source]

On Friday, November 28, 2008, Burress suffered an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right thigh in the New York City nightclub LQ when his Glock pistol, tucked in the waistband of his sweatpants[20], began sliding down his leg; apparently in reaching for the gun he inadvertently depressed the trigger, causing the gun to fire.[21] The injury was not life-threatening and he was released from an area hospital the next afternoon.[22] The following Monday, Burress turned himself in to police to face charges of criminal possession of a handgun.[23] It was later discovered that the NYPD found out about the incident only after seeing it on television and were not called by New York-Presbyterian Hospital as required by law. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the hospital actions an "outrage" and stated that they are a "chargeable offense". Bloomberg also urged that Burress be prosecuted to the fullest extent, saying that any punishment short of the minimum 3½ years for unlawful carrying of a handgun would be "a mockery of the law."[24][25] Burress had an expired concealed carry (CCW) license from Florida, but no New York license.

On December 2, 2008, Burress posted bail of $100,000.[26] Later in the day, Burress reported to Giants Stadium as per team policy for injured but active players, and was told he would be suspended without pay[27] for the remaining four games of the 2008 regular season for conduct detrimental to the team. In addition, the Giants placed Burress on their reserve/non-football injury list,[28] meaning he was ineligible to return for the playoffs. Burress was also scheduled to receive $1 million from his signing bonus on December 10, 2008, initially withheld by the team.[29] The NFL Players Association filed a grievance, saying the team violated the collective bargaining agreement and challenging the suspension and fine received by Burress.[30] A Special Master in arbitration subsequently ruled that the Giants must deliver the entire $1 million to Burress, as per the collective bargaining agreement. "To think that a player could carry a loaded gun into a nightclub, shoot himself and miss the rest of the season but get to keep his entire signing bonus illustrates one of the serious flaws in the current system," said Giants co-owner John Mara in a statement afterward.[31]

On December 23, 2008, a search of Burress' New Jersey home by the Totowa, New Jersey Police, the New York Police Department and investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney turned up a 9 mm handgun, a rifle, ammunition and the clothing believed to be worn by Burress on the night of his accidental shooting.[32] On June 12, 2009 Burress' attorney, Benjamin Brafman announced that he has been unable to reach a sentencing agreement.[33]

Burress asked a Manhattan grand jury for sympathy during two hours of testimony on July 29, 2009.[34] On Monday, August 3, 2009, prosecutors announced that Burress had been indicted[35] by the grand jury on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and a single count of reckless endangerment in the second degree, both felonies.[36][37] On August 20, 2009, Burress accepted a plea deal that would put him in prison for two years with an additional two years of supervised release.[35] His sentencing was held on September 22, 2009. Burress hired a prison consultant to advise him on what to expect while in prison.[38] In January 2010, Burress applied for and was denied a work release from prison.[39]

Driving violations[edit | edit source]

Burress was pulled over by Florida police on March 1, 2009 and ticketed for four separate moving violations: speeding, improper display of tags, improper lane change and for improper window tinting. [40] The charges were subsequently dismissed by a Fort Lauderdale magistrate "because the officer ... didn't supply information on how to pay the tickets."[41]

Personal[edit | edit source]

Plaxico Burress, named after his uncle, was born to Vicki Burress (now deceased) in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. He has two brothers, Ricardo and Carlos. Burress is married to Tiffany Glenn and has one son, Elijah[42] and a daughter, Giovanna, born November 2009. Burress graduated from Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1996, and spent a post-graduate year at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia. He lives in Totowa, New Jersey.[43] He co-wrote the book Giant: The Road to the Super Bowl (ISBN 978-0-06-169574-2), published July 1, 2008 by It Books, about his Super Bowl experience.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.