Osi Umenyiora on Plaxico Burress

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
9:57
AM ET
Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora appeared on "SportsCenter" this morning to discuss the release from prison of his former teammate, Plaxico Burress. Umenyiora visited Burress while Burress was in prison, and he said he believes his old friend will be an effective player for whatever team ends up signing him.

"When I saw him, he looked to be in tremendous shape then, so I think he'll be able to make an impact immediately," Umenyiora said. "Obviously, a guy with that kind of physical ability and that kind of talent -- he's tall, he's rangy, he's long -- I think all you have to do is throw up the ball to him and he'll make the same plays that he was able to make before."

The question everybody keeps asking, of course, is for which team will Burress be making those plays. Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said last week there was "no chance" Burress would be back with the Giants, but Umenyiora didn't get into such speculation.

"Wherever gives him an opportunity to go play football, whether that's with the Giants or with Philly or whoever's going to give him an opportunity to show his remarkable skills," Umenyiora said.

It remains to be seen whether the Giants' coaching staff and front office will take a chance on bringing Burress back to New York. But Burress' former Giants teammates have been uniformly supportive. Many have come out and said they felt he was unjustly punished, and most have made it clear they would welcome him back to the team if he came. Umenyiora shrugged off the idea of a Burress return being any kind of distraction to the Giants.

"I don't know anything about him being a distraction," Umenyiora said. "I think what he's been through in his life over these last two years will really negate any distractions that might occur."

So we'll see. I still think you can't rule out the Giants here, no matter what Brandon Jacobs says, but it's going to have to make sense both ways. And from what we're hearing, there seems to be enough doubt on both sides that a reunion seems less likely than it may once have seemed.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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