There is no player who could speak with more authority on the Jets and the Giants than Plaxico Burress. The wide receiver had one of the most dramatic catches in Super Bowl history as the Giants won after the 2007 season. Although he has eight touchdowns for the Jets this season, he has only had one catch in the last two games.
Clutch player or average receiver. When the Jets and the Giants meet at, as he called it, “JetLife Stadium” which Burress shows up?
“If you consider yourself to be a great player, an elite player, these are the games that you step up and the cream rises to the top,” Burress said. “Go out and play your best football game. This is what these games are meaning to myself and the rest of my teammates. So, I expect us to go out and play our best game on Saturday.”
The Giants were one of the teams in the bidding for Burress this summer, when the NFL lockout ended and Burress had served 20 months in prison on an illegal gun charge after accidentally shooting himself in the leg. The Jets were ultimately the winner, offering a roughly $3 million, one-year contract.
The Giants lost out, and earlier this week Burress volunteered himself if coach Rex Ryan wanted to know anything about the way the other New York team runs its offense. The fact that the Giants also have a lot of intel on Burress doesn’t phase him.
“They know me in games like this, when your back is against the wall and all those kind of things,” Burress said. “So I think they know what kind of effort they’re going to get out of me on Saturday.”
He still keeps in touch with a lot of Giants, particularly RB Brandon Jacobs, whom he talks to two or three times a week on the phone. But so far there hasn’t been any trash talking on a personal level, even if Jacobs stirred the pot today but commenting, among other things, that Ryan talks big to fill any cracks in confidence the Jets might have as an organization.
“We did some special things while we were over there, obviously winning a World Championship,” Burress said “I still share good relationships with some of those guys. But, when we go out there on (Saturday) and we go out there and lace them up, we’re enemies for the next three-and-a-half, four hours. So we all understand that it’s going to be some good competition and I mean, just look at the circumstances of this game. The loser of that game won’t go to the playoffs, Christmas Eve, Jets versus the Giants. This is what New York is all about. It couldn’t be a better setting.”
“I definitely want to get into the end zone once twice, maybe three or four,” Burress said. “I’m going to go out and try to play lights out football. My goal is to go out and play the best game I’ve played to this date this season. From a personal standpoint and more what we need as a team. If we want to get into the playoffs and make the run that we believe that we can, we need to go out and play our best football.”
Either way, Burress will have a lot to be thankful for this season, and he is well aware. A year ago he was cut off from home serving time, wondering if he had seen his last days in an NFL uniform.
“Based on where I was at last year, I just look at that alone from a perspective standpoint,” Burress said. “Just being home my first time in two years, being able to celebrate it with my wife and children, it’s definitely going to be special for me and being able to play in this game on Christmas Eve.
“Somebody's going to wake up with a bittersweet Christmas, and it’s not going to be me.”