- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some guys just never learn, even after they have been nailed.

That would be Plaxico Burress, the former Giants wide receiver who believed he could talk his way out of his predicament.

And what a predicament it is. He walks into a Manhattan nightclub with an unlicensed gun tucked into his waistband and allows it to slip down his leg and discharge, whereupon the bullet strikes him in the right thigh before lodging itself in the floor after narrowly missing a security guard who was standing near him.

Those are the facts, and no one is arguing the facts.

Yet with some guys, in their delusional state of denial, it is just never what it seems. Burress may have been carrying a gun, but it was not a gun as you and I think of a gun. It was a public-safety implement of persuasion.

If anyone would be dumb enough to pick a fight with Burress while he was out enjoying himself, he would whip out his public-safety implement of persuasion and threaten to shoot himself in the thigh.

You want an autograph from Burress? He will threaten to shoot himself in the thigh. You want to take his picture? He will threaten to shoot himself in the thigh.

If a self-administered bullet to the thigh is his first line of defense, we do not want to know what his second would be.

That is what you get from someone who has a gun but does not know how to use it. You get a clown. And Burress is as guilty of that as everything else. He is a clown who is down to negotiating the terms of his incarceration.

His game-winning touchdown reception in the 2008 Super Bowl does not matter. His previous association with the Giants does not matter. If anything, it is all working against him.

The 31-year-old Burress had it all going for him. To treat that gift so carelessly, so dismissively, is the unspoken indictment against him.

That is one of the reasons his attorneys and the district attorney’s office cannot reach a plea agreement.

Burress wants to pay a fine, perform a zillion hours’ worth of community service, go on probation and walk away from the problem. That is not going to happen and won’t happen, because Burress is the latest face of NFL players gone wild.

In trying to avoid a prison sentence, Burress told a grand jury that no harm was done, except to himself, that it was all an unfortunate mistake that emanated from his personal-safety concerns. His testimony swayed no one. If anything, it made his legal position worse, with the grand jury coming back with two gun-possession charges instead of one.

This is an athlete with no quit in him, which is not exactly a good quality to have in a courtroom.

If Burress ever wants to start the rest of his life and possibly revive a football career that is on life support, he needs to walk into a district attorney’s office and accept his medicine of two years behind bars.

The last thing he should want is to go to trial next year because if he goes to trial and loses, he could face up to 15 years on each charge.

And as you know, there is just not a lot of demand for senior-citizen wide receivers.

Burress also has another reason to want to get out in front of his legal issue.

Roger Goodell, the tough-guy commissioner of the NFL, functions as jury and judge with the players. He listens, he assesses, then he delivers his verdict.

However much prison time Burress ends up with - at least a year-plus - he can be reasonably assured that Goodell will add a suspension to the state’s penalty.

That means Burress possibly could be back on the field sometime during the 2011 season. Or not - if Burress is self-absorbed enough to play it out to the end.

If so, it will be a bitter end.

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