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Steelers WR Plaxico Burress Happy For More Time To Get Into Shape And Learn Offense


Veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress was signed late in November last season due to the injuries suffered by both Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery and because of that it took him a while to get into football shape and learn the offense.

The Steelers re-signed Burress to a one-year deal at the start of free agency this past offseason and the former first-round draft said last week during the mandatory mini camp in an interview with DVE Radio that he is grateful for the opportunity to return for another season, and even more grateful that he has time to prepare properly for 2013.

“For me its all about getting back into football shape,” said Burress. “Understanding the coverages and get a grasp of the offense. Knowing the signals, knowing the calls at the line of scrimmage, so I\’m not at the line of scrimmage guessing now. I know exactly what I got to do, but for me its all about getting back in football shape.”

Burress, who also said it that it takes him nine or ten weeks to get into football shape, didn\’t have much of a role once he was signed last season as he only played in four games total to the tune of 34 snaps. This year, however, he knows exactly what his role will be.

“My job on the backside is just to beat one-on-one coverage,” said Burress. “Get down into the red-zone area, beat one-on-one on a consistent basis and draw some double coverage and give the other guys one-on-one. So I pretty much know what my role is going to be, and I just got to go out and fulfill it.”

One of the reasons that Burress was re-signed is because wide receiver Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent during the offseason. Burress was asked what it means to lose a player like Wallace, and his lengthy response included him praising the other top three wide receivers on the Steelers roster.

“Mike is a special talent, and he\’s a guy that can really get up and down the football field,” Burress said. “I think he\’s going to have some great years ahead of him, but for the group here, we have everything that we need. When you look at Antonio Brown, I think he\’s really going to be one of the most feared receivers in the league this year, and I\’m going to help him out as much as I possibly can.

“Emmanuel [Sanders] is going into his first year as a starting receiver, so he\’s going to be able to get into a groove now that he\’s a starter. He\’s going to be out there all the time. When you\’re out there all the time seeing yourself as a success, you play with a different confidence, and you can kind of see that from him everyday that he knows that he can play at a high level in this league and go out and make plays.

“As far Jerricho [Cotchery] he\’s just going to be Mr. Consistent. He\’s going to make the tough catches for us. Get open when he gets that one-one-one coverage across the middle and myself, I\’m just going to be the guy, Mr. Versatility. Just put me anywhere and I\’ll just go out and do what I can do.”

Burress will turn 36 years of age in August and just so happens to be the only player on the Steelers roster that played a game at Three Rivers Stadium. Should he wind up making the 53 man roster out of training camp he will more than likely be the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart until rookie Markus Wheaton is up to speed and ready to contribute. Burress doesn\’t care about that one bit; however, as he\’s just thankful to be back where he started his NFL career 13 years ago.

“It\’s a great opportunity for me to spread my knowledge among the young guys like Antonio and Emmanuel and Jerricho and just watch these young guys blossom as elite receivers, and I think they\’re really going to be a group that\’s going to be recognized this year,” said Burress.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • TJimmy

    Even if Burress doesn’t make the 53 man roster this year, I am sure his experience will have been helpful to the younger receivers throughout the offseason and training camp. Kind of like having Hines Ward in the locker room for a while.

  • steeltown

    You ALWAYS need that veteran presence and knowledge.. A.Brown and Sanders may have been around this Team the longest of the current group, but they are still very young

  • Shannon Stephenson

    If I was Burress, at my age I would already be in shape knowing I have to struggle just to make the team. I know I need to do more just to continue my NFL career. I just do not see that he has that killer desire. He seems to think he can make it on what he did in the past.

  • steves

    Hard to believe Plex is the last player that played in 3 Rivers Stadium. His experience will be helpful with the new talent on and off the field. Hopefully he can talk to them on how NOT to get into trouble. Been there, did that, don’t want to do it again.

  • Shea Fahr

    One part of me wants Burress to make the team and yet another part of me does not want him to especially at the expense of some up and coming young talent. Clemons was not great but even he was plucked off the ps last year by J-ville. I just don’t know right now.

  • steeltown

    Totally agree.. im torn.. Sanders, Burress and Cotchery are all UFA’s next season and I think we can assume this is Burress’ last rodeo regardless. I would hate to lose the potential in a kid like JD Woods or even Gilreath when next season we’ll need the depth.

    Its funny, but strictly from a body type standpoint, Gilreath, J.Brown and JD Woods are similar to Sanders, Burress and Cotchery

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My personal thoughts are that Burress should not even make the team. Unless the young guys we have are plain to see that they are not NFL talent then fine but it would be a bad situation IMO

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Looking ahead to next year… I believe a tall-ish 1st round WR will be our #1 target. Between Jordan Matthews, Brandon Coleman, and Mike Evans (if he declares) there appears to be plenty of talent in the late first early second range.

    I do believe the Steelers will take that into account when forming their 53 man roster this year. In other words, they will keep the veterans to get by this year. Then plan on a long term future with Brown + Wheaton + taller 1st rd rookie, to finish out Ben’s career.

  • Bob

    I think the team and Ben need a tall receiver with experience to out-jump and fight for the ball. The team needed to keep Hines to mentor the young receivers. Last year the lack of leadership hurt the team.

  • dgh57

    I agree, there are certain aspects of Plax’s game I like and am on the fence with him but I think the deciding factor will be do I keep this up and coming talent on the PS or 53 man roster? If on the 53 man roster then Plax is gone. If on the PS then you risk losing this talent. I think they will keep some of this talent on the roster like they did with Beachum and Robinson and Plax(depending on who they keep) becomes a victim of a numbers game! To me it doesn’t look good for Plax.

  • steeltown

    Would be nice to have a tall 1st Rd WR talent, but im not going to project the 1st Rd of the draft just yet. That might all depend on a) If Miller returns to form this season b) If they sign Hood to an extension c) If they truly believe Vince Williams or Sly is the future at BUCK ILB

  • steeltown

    Yea.. considering Worilds and Cortez Allen are both starters now and wont be playing special teams and the fact we let Chris Rainey, Will Allen and Mundy go, we’ll need to make up for the lost bodies. We’ll probably need the backups at most positions to be able to help on special teams units whether it be returning kicks or in coverage

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Of course it’s way early to know for sure, but the alternating pattern of offense to defense in the first round has been fairly consistent. And this year is the offense’s “turn”.

    I really can’t see us taking a QB, RB, OC, or even OG. That pretty much leaves WR, TE, OT. As we stand today, I don’t see much first round “Steeler type” talent at TE. OT actually is shaping up nicely. WR as well.

    I just like to have an idea going into the college football season so I know who to pay attention to.

  • cencalsteeler

    I agree Shea. What gets me is that he “needs” more time to get into football shape and understand the offense more. If I was 36 and on the bubble, I WOULD be in shape and know the offense. Maybe his heart his into his new sock line. With that said, I’d rather have a kid who has a little more drive.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Yep, same here. I’m going to be watching the WR class very closely, but TE and CB will be high on my list too.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I really hope Plax makes the team. I’m getting tired of the one-trick pony argument for him not making the team. Who cares about special teams! It’s always a disaster for the most part anyways. Plax is going to be in great shape and offers a body type that a lot of teams out there don’t have. Also, Ben loves the guy, so he’s gonna make him look good in the preseason. If I was running a 3 receiver set with the Steelers I’d have AB and Plax on the outside with Sanders in the slot.

  • cencalsteeler

    Who cares about special teams? I do! It’s a determining factor on whether you have a short field to work with, or have to march all the way down. It also works on the defensive side. I’d rather see the opposing offense pinned back at their goal line, than first and ten from mid field. I truly feel field position sets the tone, whether its offense or defensive side of the ball. I don’t know about you, but I was truly frustrated losing that battle the last few years.

  • dgh57

    I totally agree, it’s one third of the game. The other 2 def. & off. It also takes pressure off your offense when your KR and/or PR takes one to the house! Whereas it puts pressure on the other teams off. if you can pin them back. I’ve been frustrated like you with our losing the field position battle through ST!

  • steves

    I am with you two. Special Teams are 1/3 of your team. A good Special team can get good field position for the offense or pin the other team so that they have a long field. Last year we had problems with our special teams in changing coaches and they never seem to gel. I hope that is worked out this year.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I don’t mean special teams all together, but when it comes to choosing wether or not Plax should make the roster, I don’t think the fact he doesn’t play special teams should factor in. If that costs us a better special teams player, than oh well.

  • sean mcmartin

    Next year is next year. Burress is needed this year.

    IMHO the Steelers need a stud DE with the first pick next year. A menacing DE is what the Steelers have used to get some great defenses going in the past.

    ziggy is not the one.

  • Brendon Glad

    I fully expect Plaxico Burress to both make the roster AND be a major factor in 2013. I was pleasantly surprised when the Steelers quickly re-signed him.
    My prediction for Plaxico as a Steeler in 2013….35-40 catches/500 yards/8 TD’s…I’ll take that…and I’m gonna GET that from him. :-)

  • Brendon Glad

    Yeah, I’ve always liked Plaxico….I completely sympathized with his legal situation…and respected him even more when he didn’t whine about it….let us fans do the whining….so I will.
    A)Another receiver on his team (Steve Smith, I believe) had just been robbed at gunpoint within the 14 days prior to the incident.
    B) He had moved from states with loser gun-laws and honestly…I was a 4.0 student with pretty high intelligence and I freely admit, that when he made that mistake I TOTALLY could see myself making the exact same mistake…(not registering gun in the state I was bringing it to, not knowing the strict penalties for carrying it, etc)…
    C) He wasn’t ‘Fronting” with the gun…it just went off…80% bad luck and 20% lack of foresight/due dilligence/gun safety. It didn’t affect my opinion of his character one iota. Much like it appears it didn’t for you Steves and Steeltown. In fact, when he didn’t whine about it, I actually GAINED respect for him. I REALLY hope he makes it with us, and that it turns out well for him and Steelers Nation.

  • steves

    Since when do starters NOT play on special teams?

  • steeltown

    Most of them wont be.. you don’t see Woodley or Polamalu or ABrown or Heath Miller or Ike Taylor or Ryan Clark or Timmons etc. etc. playing on special teams. You wouldnt want to risk injury to your high priced starters. I do hope they use Emmanuel Sanders on kick returns this season, let him and Stephens-Howling battle it out (2 dogs 1 bone)

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