Now that it looks like veteran Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress might be lost for an extended amount of time, if not the entire season, because of a torn right rotator cuff that he reportedly suffered Thursday in practice, a few have wondered if the team might put him on injured reserve with the designation to return label. Personally, I don\’t think that will happen.
For starters, there was no guarantee that Burress was going to make the final 53 man roster, and even if he did, he would have been at best a fourth wide receiver who would have been used situationally. On the high side, Burress would have likely contributed 25-30 receptions and a few touchdowns. On the low side, 15 catches and a few touchdowns.
Keep in mind that the new designated for return label can only be applied to one player and only one during a season. The Steelers benefited from the rule last year with guard David DeCastro, who they had a pretty good idea would be able to contribute late in the season. That\’s exactly what happened.
It\’s obvious Burress is not the same player he was a few years ago, and he is replaceable if not by one of the few young receivers already on the roster, then by a low-priced veteran who could also play on special teams.
It is indeed sad to see Burress go out this way as he was genuinely looking forward to one final season in Pittsburgh. He can still, however, have a role with the team as he can help mentor the young receivers on the roster while he rehabs on the regular injured reserve list.