“I’m in a happy place right now.”
While Burress signed for just over $3 million guaranteed, he insists it wasn’t all about the money. The fact that general manager Mike Tannenbaum and Jets owner Woody Johnson met with him in the spring of 2009, when his legal status was unclear and he was a free agent after the Giants released him, made a lasting impression _ on both sides.
Johnson said the new rules of free agency have made it difficult for the Jets to maneuver, but the team has always been impressed with Burress. He even revealed that he was interested in drafting him out of Michigan State in 2000. Burress went eighth overall to Pittsburgh, four selections before New York drafted Shaun Ellis and John Abraham with consecutive picks.
“We didn’t have a lot of surplus cash,” Johnson said. “This is a perfect fit for us with Plax.”
Holmes has been wearing a yellow and black bracelet on his wrist that has the words “Free Plax aka Black” enscribed on it, something several players got when Burress went to prison in 2009 as a show of support.
“This is the opportunity for the NFL to give guys what they deserve, second chances,” said Holmes, who was traded to the Jets by Pittsburgh last year after he had his own issues with the Steelers. “Second chances are there in the real world for us to get a job.”
“I showed my bracelet … and the next day they signed the deal,” Holmes said. “I called him that night, and he signed the next day.”
“So, I’m watching this tape, his point-attack tape,” Ryan said. “I’m like, `Oh, my goodness. Let’s go get this guy. Are we crazy?’”
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