Steelers WR Burress says he isn't finished
During his 10-month NFL layoff, Plaxico Burress was asked what he could do if he had another chance to play.
Burress' response? “(I could) have a two- or three-touchdown game coming off the couch.”
The Steelers would be overjoyed with a lot less, even if Burress believes he has a lot more to prove to his old team, his new teammates and the 31 teams that passed on him.
Burress isn't sure why he couldn't land a job following his 45-catch, eight-touchdown season a year ago with the Jets. It could have been his perceived attitude, a résumé that includes prior suspensions and fines or the 20-month prison sentence he served after pleading guilty to a weapons-possession charge in New York, where he accidentally shot himself at a nightclub.
But be assured Burress isn't back with the Steelers to be just another spare part.
At 35, he still thinks he can be the big-play receiver he's always been, first with the Steelers and later with the Giants, for whom he made a Super Bowl-winning catch.
“I want to just kind of add a different wrinkle to this offense,” Burress said Wednesday. “Get down there inside the 20, draw some double coverage, open some other guys up. There's a few things I can do.”
Burress calls the Antonio Brown-Mike Wallace-Emmanuel Sanders-Jerricho Cotchery unit the best he's been around.
“That says a lot,” he said.
But with Brown out with a high ankle sprain, Wallace and Sanders aren't getting the separation from cornerbacks they had before. And none of the receivers is taller than the 6-foot Wallace, which means they're all leaping with — not leaping over — defenders inside the 20.
The Steelers are averaging 2.91 yards per play inside the 20, which ranks 26th, but that could change with the 6-foot-5 Burress.
“What he showed last year was a knack in the red zone,” former Texans and Redskins general manager Charley Casserly said. “He's got a stutter-step move to get off press coverage and quick explosion. When he has success in gaining separation, he's got the hands and the size. He's not a speed guy, but his cuts are pretty smooth for a long, lanky guy.”
The question, Casserly said: “Can he get it for six games? Can he be a good solider?”
Ben Roethlisberger thinks he can, one reason why he lobbied general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin to bring Burress back following his release from prison in 2011. Burress instead signed with the Jets, mostly because of family ties.
So when Burress returned to the Steelers on Tuesday — for a prorated share of the veterans' minimum $925,000 — Roethlisberger was the first person he called. The two built quite a rapport during Roethlisberger's rookie season in 2004.
“He's not finished, and I'm not finished,” Burress said. “Let's see if we can do it again.”
Burress has three practices to get game-ready for the Browns.
“There's no doubt he can come in and (contribute immediately),” quarterback Charlie Batch said. “He's not a rookie.”
Burress appears to be in excellent shape; he has been working out extensively in south Florida this season.
“From the standpoint of going out and making plays, I understand coverages,” Burress said. “I've been around a long time, and it's just getting to the spots where I need to be.”
The Steelers hope that's five yards deep in the end zone, with the ball in his hands.
“A lot of pieces are in place here, and the goal obviously is to walk on the field and win a world championship,” Burress said. “I just want to come in and have an impact.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Steelers’ Pouncey, brother won’t be charged in July fracas
- Steelers notebook: No-huddle gets limited use vs. Texans
- Steelers film session: Watt kept under control
- Snapshot in time: Comparing Cowher, Tomlin drafts
- Robinson: Big Ben on pace to break Favre’s record — for sacks
- Rossi: Steelers’ season all about going big
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game for Steelers in victory
- Steelers notebook: Adams replaces concussed Gilbert