The former Super Bowl star with the Giants, recently released from prison after serving 20 months on a gun charge, reached an agreement in principle Sunday on a one-year deal with the Jets, the team said.
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.
His second chance at the NFL comes with a team that was interested in him a few years ago before he went to prison. Now, he’ll likely join the recently re-signed Santonio Holmes as Mark Sanchez’s top receivers.
Burress met with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent his first five seasons, on Saturday after sitting down with Giants coach Tom Coughlin on Friday. Burress mentioned he would be interested in playing for several teams, including the Jets _ and didn’t even need to meet with general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan to make his decision.
ESPN first reported the deal, saying it is for $3.017 million fully guaranteed. Burress was 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.
Because of the NFL post-lockout rules, Burress can’t practice with the team until Thursday. But clearly, the Jets are confident the former Pro Bowl receiver has a lot left as they try for a Super Bowl run. Burress gives Sanchez a big receiver _ he’s 6-foot-5 _ to complement Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller and a solid running game with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson.
Burress pleaded guilty in August 2009 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub in November 2008, accepting a two-year prison term. He was released about three months early for good behavior, but will be on parole for two years.
He has to get and keep a job, undergo substance abuse testing, obey any curfew established by his Florida parole officer, support his family and undergo any anger counseling or other conditions required by his parole officer.
He caught 35 passes for 698 yards and five touchdowns in his final year with Pittsburgh in 2004 as the Steelers slowly broke in Ben Roethlisberger, a rookie at the time. Burress moved on to New York, where he thrived catching balls from Eli Manning, but often ran into trouble with Coughlin.
The move softens the blow for the Jets after losing out on getting cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was New York’s top priority after re-signing Holmes. But Asomugha surprisingly signed with Philadelphia, and the Jets were forced to turn their attention elsewhere.
The addition of Burress likely means Braylon Edwards will not be back with the Jets after nearly two seasons in New York. Edwards, a free agent, repeatedly said he was interested in returning, but it was believed the Jets wouldn’t be able to keep both him and Holmes.