Steelers WR Plaxico Burress Is Glad He Has Entire Off-season To Get Into Football Shape
The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted no time this off-season in re-signing wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who inked a one-year deal early on in free agency. Burress was a guest this past Friday on SiriusXM NFL Radio and he talked about how glad he is to get to another chance to play in Pittsburgh in 2013.
During the interview, Burrress was asked if he thinks that he still has it in himself to deliver at the NFL level.
“This time around, I have a whole off-season to get ready,” said Burress. “I have mini camps, I have training camp and I\’m given the same opportunity as everybody else to go into the opening day in football shape, which I didn\’t have the opportunity to do last year.
“I look for myself to go out and do great things and that\’s what I\’m preparing myself for. I\’m looking at myself to go in and be a starter. I\’m going to compete for a job and that mindset is not going to change.”
Burress was then asked how much longer he sees himself playing in the league.
“Maybe one or two more,” said Burress. “I would be crazy to say that I could play four or five more, I mean that\’s not the case. Like I said, I\’ll be 36 and these guys are coming into the league, and they\’re like 20 and 21 years old now. They remind me of myself when I was young, trying to come in and do all of the things that I set out to do.
“Right now, I just enjoy the game. I love the game and seeing young guys flourish to be NFL stars. I\’m in a happy place and I\’m going to go out and I\’m going to play hard. I think the coaches and Ben (Roethlisberger), they know what to expect from me and I\’m going to go out and give them everything that I have.”
Despite registering 45 catches for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns with the New York Jets in 2011, Burress remained unsigned last season until late in November when the Steelers needed him due to injuries suffered by wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown. After signing with the Steelers, however, Burress didn\’t look real sharp and he only saw 34 snaps worth of playing time in four games.
Since he re-signed with the Steelers back in March, the team drafted wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown, whom Burress said on Friday he looks forward to working with this summer. That new competition, along with the facts that Burress really only plays the “X” position, and doesn\’t play on special teams, means that his spot on the 53 man roster is far from guaranteed at this point.
Keep in mind that Burress is no longer a player that can stretch the field, and even though he was handicapped by the play of quarterback Mark Sanchez when he was with the Jets in 2011, his 46.88% catch percentage ranked him near the bottom of the league of all wide receivers that were targeted 60 or more times that season.
There has been talk all off-season that the Steelers might wind up signing free agent wide receiver Steve Breaston prior to the start of training camp. Should that signing indeed come to fruition, Burress\’ chances of making the 53 man roster will decrease even more.
One thing that I noticed about Burress during his interview was that he sounded very calm and at peace with himself. He certainly carries himself much better than he did several years ago.
As expected, Burress had a ton of praise for the entire Steelers organization and voiced how happy he is to back in Pittsburgh again with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In addition, Burress also let it be known that Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is a perfectionist and that he doesn\’t think a lot of people know that about him.
“Nothing is going to be perfect, but getting close to it, I think it says enough about him,” said Burress about Haley. “If you\’re shooting to be perfect every time, then you\’re going to be pretty good and that\’s the kind of coach that he is.
“He lines us up and gets us in great position to go out and have success, and every time I sit down and talk to him, I learn something about him, and I have a lot of respect for him.”
With Haley being a perfectionist and Burress looking a lot less than perfect last season, the Steelers former first-round draft pick really needs to impress this off-season and it sounds like he is certainly well aware of that.
Special thanks to my friends at SiriusXM NFL Radio for getting this interview to me after I missed it originally airing on Friday. I highly suggest you subscribe to Sirius as they have great interviews and football talk year around on that channel and it is well worth the price.