NEW YORK (AP) - Stuck in prison and his NFL career derailed, Plaxico Burress insisted he’d be back one day.
Rex Ryan and the New York Jets are giving him that second chance.
“I’m just grateful,” a confident yet humble Burress said Sunday night. “I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m going to give them everything I’ve got because they put their trust in me to be able to come in and contribute and have an impact.”
The former Super Bowl star with the Giants signed a one-year deal with the Jets on Sunday after recently being released from prison after serving 20 months on a gun charge. Burress, who turns 34 on Aug. 12, caught the game-winning touchdown in the Giants' upset of the unbeaten New England Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, before his career derailed after he accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub later that year.
“When something’s taken away from you that you love, you know you love it more,” he said. “You learn that playing in this business is definitely a privilege. I definitely miss being away from the game and the guys and being able to compete every Sunday with the best athletes in the world.”
Vick served 18 months in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring before returning to football in 2009. He was eased back into things by the Eagles before taking over as the starting quarterback last year and capping a terrific season by being selected as the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year.
“I’ve never played with a guy on the other side of me who was that explosive,” Burress said of Holmes. “It’s going to be fun. I think we’re going to drive some defensive coordinators crazy _ which way they want to roll their coverage in certain situations, in the red zone, so it’ll be interesting to see how teams match up against us.”
ESPN first reported the deal, saying it is for more than $3 million fully guaranteed. Burress was at the airport in Los Angeles on his way to a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN reported, but canceled that trip when the Jets contacted him. He agreed to come back to New York, but in green and white this time, without even visiting with the Jets or speaking to Rex Ryan.
“There was no sales pitch needed,” he said. “You just look at all the pieces that are in place. You get a chance to compete for a world championship every year, play for a great organization, play with a great quarterback. I get to play beside Santonio Holmes and a future Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson.”
Burress also appreciated how owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum met with him in 2009, despite his legal situation being uncertain at the time.
“They were really the first team to support me with everything that I had going on at that time,” he said, “and it just felt right for me to be able to come here with everything that I had going on a couple of years ago, to have those guys approach me in the way that they did I just felt I made the right decision.”
A few hours after announcing the agreement, the Jets were accepting pre-orders for replica Burress jerseys for $80 on their website. Matt Higgins, the Jets‘ executive vice president of business operations, tweeted that Burress would be wearing No. 17 _ Braylon Edwards’ number the past two seasons.