May 232011
 
Plaxico Burress

Plaxico Burress (photo: Ted Kerwin)

The Eagles may soon be reaching out to another convicted felon wrapping up a lengthy prison stay, albeit one caused more by rampant stupidity than a taste for torture. 

Per Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, the Eagles could be interested in former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.  Myers states that he’s heard the Eagles will be first in line to talk to Burress when he gets out, with speculation that the Steelers, Chargers, Falcons and Ravens could also be destinations.

Burress is scheduled to be released from prison on June 6, 2011.  He’s been locked up since September 23, 2009 after getting convicted for blowing a hole in his leg with a gun he was carrying while at a Manhattan nightclub.  He hasn’t actually played in the NFL since November 16, 2008.

Burress’ biggest obstacle to getting back is the ongoing lockout as there’s no doubt a team will give him a look once they’re allowed to do business.  The easy comparison is Vick, though Burress’ crime is nowhere close to the level of evil heinousness that was ignored in the name of giving the proverbial second chance to a guy who blinds people with an ability to run fast and throw far.  So Burress will rightly get his too. 

Ultimately, the most critical factor working against Burress is simply age.  He will turn 34 this August, and while he may have kept in shape it takes a while to regain true football form.  He’s going to need to show any interested team that his body can respond and he can still gain separation against NFL corners.  And at his age he doesn’t have a lot of time to waste.

It’s really kind of surprising to hear the Eagles linked to him though.  Yes, they’ve become the gold standard of reclamation projects, but that doesn’t mean they need another wide receiver.  With DeSean Jackson a legit superstar and with Jeremy Maclin not far beyond, not to mention Jason Avant already one of the best slot guys in the game and with promising second year player Riley Cooper in the mix, it wouldn’t seem to benefit the team to have Burress around.  And for Burress, while it’s a paycheck, you’d think he’d want to play for a WR-needy team where he can actually get some playing time and potentially reach contract incentives he’ll likely try to negotiate.  Jail pay isn’t quite the same as the slave trade in the NFL.

Then again, the Eagles didn’t really need a quarterback when they signed Vick, with McNabb still entrenched as a starter and Kevin Kolb being groomed to shortly take over.  So who knows.  And hopefully, if Burress really does end up in Eagles camp but fails to perform at a high enough level, Vick doesn’t grab him by the ankles and slam him to the Lehigh Valley turf.

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