The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Plaxico Burress in the first round out of Michigan State in the 2000 NFL draft. After some successful seasons in Pittsburgh, he felt he wanted to move on to bigger and better things. Burress signed with the New York Giants in March 2005.
The next few years would be a roller-coaster ride of major highs and lows for Plaxico Burress. Burress would go on to have the game winning touchdown catch for the Giants’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII February 3rd 2008. Burress signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension prior to the 2008 season.
Burress was at the pinnacle of his career but it would soon come tumbling to a sudden and swift halt. On November 28, 2008, Burress suffered an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right thigh in a New York City nightclub. Burress had an expired concealed carry license from Florida, and no New York license.
Burress was released by the Giants on April 3, 2009, due to his legal problems.
On September 22, 2009 Burress was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and a single count of reckless endangerment in the second degree, both felonies. Burress would serve a two-year sentence and be released from the Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York On June 6, 2011.
Burress had it all only to lose it in a blink of an eye in that one careless moment.
After his release he flirted with a return to the Steelers but wound up staying in New York signing with the New York Jets on July 31, 2011. Burress had 45 catches for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns for the 2011.
The 2012 season started with Burress again unemployed but November 20th, 2012 the Steelers brought in Burress for a workout after injuries to wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown. Burress was signed and played sparingly in four games catching 3 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
That brings us to the present. Burress signed with the Steelers for the 2013 season in March here are some quotes from Burress after the signing from Steelers.com
“I told them Pittsburgh was the only place I wanted to be,” said Burress. “When I came in last year I thought I was in good shape for the time frame I was there. All I wanted this year was an opportunity to get into minicamp and training camp and start to get myself back into real football shape along with everyone else.”
“It’s a special place,” said Burress. “From the owners on down they create an atmosphere that can’t be duplicated. It’s within the building. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. It’s everyone in the building. It’s the foundation. It’s special.”
“You don’t get to be around an organization or teammates like the Steelers other places around the NFL. That is one of the first things I noticed when I left and went to New York. Sometimes you want to embark on bigger and better things and go to the big city. I did that. There are pros and cons of every situation. I am back because I love it in Pittsburgh. When you leave you realize how special a place it really is.”
You may think Burress may be bitter after all the trials and tribulations but he chooses not to be. Burress is now approaching 36 years of age in August and with age comes wisdom.
In a recent interview with Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Burress had this to say about the subject.
“I don’t think about that,” Burress said. “I lost two years but the main thing about it, I persevered through it when a lot of people thought I was finished. Here I am three years removed from that and I’m still playing football. I wake up every day, I come in here with a fresh attitude, man, ready to work, ready to play football.”
“It makes you smarter, you make better decisions, you think things through. People involved in your life, your family and kids, make decisions based off of them rather than be selfish and based on yourself.”
“I’m blessed to be here,” said Burress, who has not missed a practice this spring. “Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and the Rooneys gave me an opportunity to still play football. They have the confidence in me that I can still go out there and play and make an impact. I think that’s the most important thing, when the opportunity comes I go out and deliver.”
Adversity… It can bring out the best in a person or the worst in a person. Adversity tests one’s metal. It can either make you or break you. You can either face it, become stronger from it and learn from its lessons or wilt and dwell forever on what could or should have been until it consume you.
True champions face adversity, learn from it, relish the challenge, and will not be denied no matter the circumstance. In life it’s not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up that’s important.
Plaxico Burress chooses to face adversity like a true champion!