Before I get into this let me just say that I do not expect the Oakland Raiders to sign Plaxico Burress or any other free agent wide receiver. They have shown a commitment to the young guys, and they just added another young guy in Denarius Moore. That is not to say I don't think they should, and I know many fans would like them to. With free agency on a lengthy delay we will have time to get into that, but for now there is one guy I am curious enough to gauge the interest of the nation: Plaxico Burress. Under what circumstances, if any, do you think he would be a good addition to the Raiders?
Plax is just a couple of weeks away (June 6th) from being released from prison. At that point he will have been locked up for just over 20 months. He is about to turn 34. According to the New York Daily News Burress will face no further punishment from the league. So, the receiver will be ready to play as soon as his body allows him to. The question is, when will that be? Jump over....
We all just witnessed the year it took Michael Vick to get his elite football athleticism back. At 34, it is a fair question if Plax ever could. The New York Daily News also reported that Plax is in excellent shape, but about 15-20 pounds lighter than his playing speed. They quoted an unnamed NFL personnel director as saying:
"The first year with Vick was a wash. It was more than just being in shape. It was a year and a half before you thought it was him. I don't see a bunch of teams being interested in Burress, but it takes only one. Who will do it? I can't name one. But I will say this: I think somebody will."
While the comparison to Vick is applicable in that they were gone for similar amounts of time and in similar circumstances it is different, because they are different athletes. Burress thrived as much on his size as his athleticism. On his best day he could run a 4.6 40. Still, he could not be expected to perform at his former Pro Bowl level if he's lost a step, but he'd still be able to contribute with solid route running, good hands and of course his 6'6" size.
For me, it all comes down to his attitude. If Plax was willing to come in on an incentive laden contract with the understanding that he needed to work and prove that he deserved a chance to play I would sign him in a second. And if what his attorney Peter Frankel says about him below and the NY Daily News is true than I think Burress has a great chance to contribute. He would also be a guy that could give this young receiver corp an edge to it and provide an example to the young guys.
I think getting to know him the way I've gotten to know him, he's a guy who feels he had his legs cut out from under him at the pinnacle of his career and he has a lot to prove. It's all he talks about. He's determined not to just make it back, but make it back in a big way. He can't wait to get back on the field.