Plaxico Burress: Happiness Is a Warm Gun -- And Warm Weather
Hey, South Florida, I know a six-foot-five, 230-pound troubled wide receiver who needs a hug. Come on. By South Florida troublemaker standards, Plaxico Burress is a pussycat. Can we keep him? Huh, can we?
There aren't too many places with open arms for the big guy these days. On top of the felony charges -- and possible prison term -- he's facing in New York, over the past three years, Burress has had arrest warrants or restraining orders issued in his name in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Juice country is already home to serial killers, Mafia thugs, corrupt cops, drug kingpins, and other weirdo, law-breaking celebrities like O.J. Simpson (before he went to prison), Anna Nicole Smith (before she died), Rush Limbaugh, Mickey Rourke, Scott Stapp, and Randy Moss.
And Plaxico Burress. He's owned a house in Boca Raton for years. It's where his expired concealed handgun license is registered and where he claimed residence when a warrant was issued for his arrest in a delinquent tax claim in 2005. And Florida is one of the few places he's never gotten into (publicized) trouble.
Yeah, so a guy pointlessly carries a loaded handgun into a crowded New York nightclub and shoots himself in the leg. In his defense: he was fumbling with it, and at least he lied about who he was at the hospital and made a half-assed attempt to cover it up.
-- Michael J. Mooney
2005 - Three months after Burress signs a free-agent 6-year, $25 million-dollar contract with the New York Giants, an arrest warrant is issued in which officials in Moon Township, Pennsylvania claim the wide receiver owes more than $90,000 in back taxes. His lawyers argue Burress is a resident of Florida and eventually the warrant is rescinded.
2006 - After being benched and fined for repeatedly missing team meetings throughout the '05 season (at least two in his first three weeks alone), Burress finishes a year marked with injuries by skipping the mandatory team meeting after the 23-0 playoff loss at home. He starts the 2006 season by missing a meeting in the first week . His excuse: he says his coaches knew where he was but fined him anyway.
2007 - Burress suffers an ankle injury during training camp that prevents him from practicing the entire season. Defense: he had a career-high 12 touchdowns.
2008 - In January, he slips in the shower at the team hotel the week before the Super Bowl, injuring his knee. He did, however, catch the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left.
In February he does not attend the Giants' victory parade.
In June police are called to Burress' Totowa, N.J. home to investigate a domestic disturbance. Burress says his wife slapped him. She says he grabbed her. A judge issues a temporary restraining order against him. Later this month, Burress does not participate in training camp, he says, to protest his contract.
In August, police return the Burress household in New Jersey, responding a domestic disturbance that began in a nightclub and continued when the couple returned home. Another TRO is issued.
In September Burress signs a five-year, $35 million contract extension. Two weeks later he is suspended for two weeks for missing team meetings and loses one week of pay - $117,000. It comes out that Burress has been fined "dozens of times" for breaking team rules.
In October Burress is fined $45,000 for inappropriate comments about officiating, verbal abuse of a referee and throwing a football into the stands.
In November he brings a gun into a nightclub, shoots himself in the thigh and gives a fake name to hospital employees. Within a week he is suspended from the team for the rest of the year and arrested for two felony charges of weapon possession. One charge carries a three and a half year minimum sentence.