- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2008

New York Giants co-owner John Mara and general manager Jerry Reese briefly met with the media at FedEx Field before Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins to discuss the self-inflicted shooting of wide receiver Plaxico Burress and the possible involvement of middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, but had little information to share.

“Right now, we’re just in a stage where we’re gonna wait until the investigation plays out,” Mara said. “And we’ll get all the facts, and once we have all the facts we’ll make a determination as to what, if anything, we’re gonna do.

“But right now there are a lot of unanswered questions out there, so we want to wait until the investigation concludes. We’ve cooperated fully with both NFL security and with NYPD and whatever they ask us to do, we’re gonna do and we’ll wait and see what determination they come up with and after that we’ll act accordingly.”

Burress, who was not going to play against the Redskins anyway because of a hamstring injury, shot himself in the right thigh late Friday evening in a Manhattan club. He reportedly was hospitalized and released, and did not suffer serious injuries.

The New York Daily News reported that Pierce, a former Redskins player who anchors the Giants’ defense, was with Burress at the time and faces possible criminal charges for trying to hide the gun after the incident. Pierce was in uniform Sunday and was expected to start for the Giants.

“Antonio has been cooperative with NFL security,” Reese said. “Antonio is working on trying to beat the Redskins right now. That’s what his focus is and it’s what it should be right now. He’s been interviewed by NFL security. I’m not sure he’s been interviewed by the police yet. NFL security came to the hotel last night.”

A talented but unpredictable player who has run afoul of club management on several occasions, Burress signed a two-year contract extension in September that makes his deal worth $35 million over five years, including $11 million in guaranteed money.

According to published reports, Burress does not have a permit to carry the gun, which went off accidentally. ESPN reported that Burress has hired a lawyer and will meet with police on Monday after he refused to allow authorities admittance to his New Jersey home on Saturday.

Asked if he or any other team staffer has heard from Burress, Reese replied: “I reached out to him. I did not get a return phone call. So, no, we haven’t spoken to him yet.”

Added Mara: “I’m disappointed that this happened and that any of our guys would put themselves in this kind of situation. But our first concern was for Plaxico’s health and well-being ,and we were very relieved to find out that he is gonna be OK.”

Asked if he thought the news would distract his team, which carried an NFC best 10-1 record into the game, Mara said: “This team has proven itself to be pretty resilient. So hopefully, they’ll be able to overcome this, but that remains to be seen.”

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