Plaxico Burress will join the New York Jets on a one-year, $3 million contract. That really is not news that many New York Giants fans, who had been hoping -- and clamoring -- for a return to the Giants by the one-time star wide receiver wanted to hear.
It really won't be enjoyable to see Burress lined up on the other side of the field when the Jets and Giants meet this season, in both the preseason and regular season. Shoot, it would not have been fun to see him lined up wearing Philadelphia Eagles colors, either.
Thing is, as much as I know many Giants fans still think of Burress as the superstar wide receiver who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Eli Manning in Super Bowl 42, and thought Burress to the Giants would cancel out Philly's signing of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, I maintain that it is better this way. For both sides.
For Burress, after approximately two years in prison, he can resume his career without the circus astmosphere that would surround a return to the Giants -- and without the constant interest in his relationship with Giants coach Tom Coughlin. For the Giants, they can finally move on without the spectre of a potential Burress return hanging over the franchise -- and especially the talented young group of wide receivers the Giants have assembled in the seasons since Burress went to prison after shooting himself in the leg with an unregistered handgun while out at a Manhattan nightclub.
No, the Giants have not made the playoffs in the two years Burress did not play in the NFL. That, however, is not the fault of the Giants wide receivers. Hakeem Nicks is a star in the making, as is Mario Manningham. Steve Smith, who should eventually re-sign with the Giants, is the only receiver in franchise history to catch 100 passes, and is one of the most sure-handed receivers and best route-runners in the business. Behind them, the Giants have a plethora of other young, talented pass-catchers.
There is no guaranteeing that Burress, 34 when the season begins, can still be an impact player. He has not played in 21/2 seasons. Also, prison is not place to work out for football. There is simply no telling how much of Burress' formerly formidable skill remains. The expectations with the Giants would have been that he would be what he used to be, and I'm not sure that would be fair to him or the Giants. With the Jets he can contribute as a third wide receiver or a guy who splits time with Jerricho Cotchery, and he won't be expected to star.
I wish Burress well. And part of me wishes he had landed someplace like St. Louis or Houston -- where he would be out of the daily sight of Giants fans -- rather than playing in green and white for the team that shares New Meadowlands Stadium with the Giants.
Still, though, Burress and the Giants are better off without each other.