Following the release of Plaxico Burress last Friday, one thing is certain: the Giants will have a new number one receiver next year. Who that will be is open to speculation. Will the Giants draft a wide out with their first pick in the draft? Will they trade up or trade away for an Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards? Will they pursue a free agent like Tory Holt? While these are certainly worthy questions for any Giants fan, I’m going to refer back to my first Burress article for the time being…
What I want to do instead is talk a bit about the release of Burress itself. For months, the Giants had been saying they would welcome Burress back if he resolved his legal and personal issues. His legal issues remained up in the air as of his release. His hearing was postponed from its original date on March 31st until mid-June because both sides failed to negotiate a plea. This did add an element of uncertainty to the Giants draft priorities, but I doubt it was the primary reason for his release. The Giants stand by their guys.
Instead, I believe that Burress’s release was the direct result of his inability or unwillingness to address his personal issues, and issues with the team, and his desire to no longer be a New York Giant. That’s right. From the bizarre Drew Rosenhaus e-mail declaring Burress on the trade market, to the stalls in contract negotiations for 2009 and the grievance over Burress’ one million dollar bonus, it’s clear Plaxico did not want to be a Giant anymore. If you need further proof, his actions and demeanor at the Michigan State Final Four game speak volumes.
The team decided enough was enough, and it was. Plax’s selfish, stupid behavior was a major reason the Giants ran out of gas at the end of last season (along with D-line injuries). Nobody’s bigger than the team, and Plax could not and can not accept that. While there may be a need for his production on the field, there’s no room for his nonsense in the locker room. The first can be replaced; the second can be removed.
My support for Big Blue and all who wear the jersey kept me hoping Burress could turn the corner and return to the Giants in some capacity next season. In the process, I think I overlooked the man’s obvious character flaws and long history of disciplinary problems. You can’t help someone who won’t help himself. The Giants will be ready to move on next year without number 17; the next number Burress wears will probably have a few more digits.
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