Burress will go back to New York. The city in which his troubles began. However this time two things are different.
First Burress appears to have grown up significantly during his two year stint in prison. He is apologetic and seems more mature. That is a good thing. The next good thing is he will return to the Jets, not the Giants. Burress reached an agreement Sunday morning with the Jets on a one year deal. Meaning he will take the place of Braylon Edwards, who saw the handwriting on the wall when the Jets failed to return his agent’s calls.
Burress transgressions are well documented. 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 took a standstill after he accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub later that year.
Because of the NFL post-lockout rules, Burress is not allowed to practice with the Jets until Thursday. They are confident the former Pro Bowl receiver has a lot left as they try for a Super Bowl run. Burress will give quarterback Mark Sanchez a big target to complement Holmes. Burress stands 6’5 and has always been an imposing target.
The Jets are hoping Burress can rehabilitate himself in the same way Michael Vick has with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick is the poster-child so far for the NFL on how an athlete should behave and reform after a stay at the local Grey-bar hotel. Burress has to abide by virtually the same rules as Vick when he was released.
Burress has to get and keep a job, today’s news accomplishes that. He must 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. This should all be possible now with his signing.
Only three teams expressed an interest in Burress. The Giants, Pittsburgh and the Jets. Burress started his career with the Steelers and was happy with his meeting on Saturday. Burress has 505 catches for 7,845 yards and 55 touchdowns in his NFL career with the Steelers and Giants.
He also met with the Giants before the Jets stood up and made an offer which he accepted.
Burress will be watched by not on his parole officer, but the league and the fans. So far his attitude and enthusiasm at being back has been outstanding. The league is counting on him to keep up his hard work and prove the NFL correct again in allowing an athlete, once on the cusp, to rehab themselves in the public eye with help from the NFL.