Malcontent Wideout More Distraction than Attraction
When the Giants were shopping Jeremy Shockey, the opinions ranged from one extreme to the other. What the Pro Bowl tight end brought to the table as far as receptions and blocking went were never disputed, but the multiple distractions he caused added up to make him expendable.
Big Blue rid themselves of one problem child when they pulled the trigger on the offseason trade of Shockey to New Orleans, but were still stuck with perhaps a bigger one in Plaxico Burress. The veteran wide receiver recently came back following a two-week suspension after playing hooky from practice and not even bothering to phone in.
Most reasonable people - even professional athletes - would be apologetic and remorseful, especially one that just signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension. But not Burress, who seemed defiant during a conference call on Monday.
"I don't have any regrets for that at all," he said. "I haven't lost any sleep. I enjoyed my week off."
If that is hard to digest, then the reason that Burress gave for missing practice will go down even harder. Explaining that the "family emergency" (which came out without further details when he was suspended) was taking his son to school, Burress said, "I felt it was and the situation that I had to deal with that morning as far as my son...I made the right decision. It's not like I purposely missed out or that was my intention. It just seemed to happen that way and I didn't feel any reason to explain to them what happened or why I missed because I don't feel it is really anybody's business."
Not showing up to work nary a phone call to your boss - that might constitute reason enough for a notification. Not in Burress' eyes, a player who was practically bragging about being fined nearly 50 times since signing with the Giants four years ago.
"I really don't know the amount of times, but I do know that I have been fined quite a bit and some things and some of the demands that they as me to do, I just don't meet.
"It hasn't really bothered me or affected me though."
That last statement says it all. Yes, he is talented and can be a force at times. Catching the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl was merely the exclamation point on a productive season and playoff for Burress. No one can take that away from him. But the question remains - would the Giants be better off without him?
Last Sunday's game proved that there are other talented receivers on this team, even though the 44-6 win came against a weak Seahawks club. Domenik Hixon took Burress' spot in the starting lineup and accumulated four receptions (one for a touchdown) and 102 yards in less than a half before being forced from the game with a concussion. Sinorice Moss caught two touchdown passes and Amani Toomer also pitched in with four catches.
Head coach Tom Coughlin has mellowed some, but definitely showed Burress and the rest of the team who is running this ship. He has the total respect of the locker room and both quarterback Eli Manning and linebacker Antonio Pierce said that the team is moving on and putting this situation past them.
This is a team that is riding high and playing extremely well at 4-0 in the first quarter of the season. Distractions such as the ones that Shockey brought have definitely not been missed. If Burress feels that he can do whatever he pleases, he should take a look at number 88 on the Saints.