Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Updated: July 28, 3:05 AM ET
Plaxico Burress, Tom Coughlin to meet?
Free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress said he will meet with his former coach, Tom Coughlin, about a potential return to the Giants.
"It's going to be crazy," Burress told The Star-Ledger of Newark Tuesday night, regarding the planned meeting.
Burress had said he was going to meet with Coughlin on Wednesday, but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPNNewYork.com that the new league rules do not allow free agents to meet with teams, even at a neutral site, until the free-agent signing period begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday.
Burress can talk by telephone with Coughlin in the meantime, according to Aiello.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that Burress will fly back to Florida to resume training and could return on Friday.
Multiple media outlets also had reported Tuesday night that Burress was scheduled to meet with Giants officials Wednesday.
Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter earlier Tuesday that the Giants had discussions throughout the day about Burress' possible return.
The Giants want to see where Burress is mentally before they would make any moves, sources told Schefter.
Burress, who will turn 34 in August, was released from prison in June after serving a nearly two-year sentence on a weapons possession charge. In an interview in June with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Burress expressed doubt that he could co-exist once again with Coughlin.
However, according to multiple media reports, Coughlin has told general manager Jerry Reese that he is willing to sit down and talk with Burress.
"I really don't know what I'm going to say," Burress told the Star-Ledger about the meeting. "I'm just going to go in there tomorrow and speak from the heart, be truthful with him and let him know how I feel. Whatever comes out is going to come out.
"I'm pretty sure there are things he wants to say, too."
One key Giants players would love to see Burress back in blue.
"It'll be another match made in heaven," defensive end Justin Tuck said.
"I know this team would love to see him back," Tuck said on Wednesday, adding that he had spoken to Burress. "I don't see there being any other place for him to be (rather) than here in New York. But he has to do what's best for him and his family, and that's what I'd advise him to do."
Tuck hopes Coughlin and Burress can work out their differences.
"I can't speak for Plax or Tom, but it's been well documented that they have bumped heads in the past, so hopefully a little time apart can rekindle that love that they shared for each other," he said.
On Monday, Giants co-owner John Mara appeared on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN 1050 in New York and acknowleged the team has raised the possibility of a Burress return.
"I think that's certainly something we're going to talk about and have talked about," Mara said. "Where that goes, I don't know."
According to a source close to the wide receiver, Burress arrived in the New York metro area area Tuesday night.
He said the Giants, as of now, are the only team he plans on visiting.
Asked by the newspaper if the Giants are the favorites to land him, Burress responded: "I'm not sure. I do love New York. My fan base here has been great to me. But it's not just about football; there are a lot of things that go into it.
"But after this I'll know a lot more. Without a doubt, without question."
The 33-year-old receiver has said he will be mentored by Magic Johnson and Tony Dungy. He is a volunteer at National Urban League youth programs and has said he'll try to recruit other pro athletes to the program. He also has said he will work with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and will speak out for gun control.
Burress caught the winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl as the Giants stunned the Patriots, dealing New England its only loss that season. Nine months later, his handgun accidentally went off in a Manhattan nightclub, striking his thigh. The gun was not licensed in New York or in New Jersey, where Burress lived. His license to carry a concealed weapon in Florida had expired in May 2008.
Burress is on parole for two years. He has to get and keep a job, undergo substance abuse testing, obey any curfew established by his Florida parole officer, support his family and undergo any anger counseling or other conditions required by his parole officer.
In the in-depth, one-hour interview with Smith earlier this month, Burress discussed his difficult relationship with Coughlin.
"My situation in New York, me and my coach had an ambivalent relationship to say the least," Burress said at the National Urban League headquarters where he held a press conference to promote gun safety. "Some things that I didn't agree with, with the way he went about things. And the only way to show my way was to just rebel. Is that who I am? No."
"That was one of the biggest problems when I left Pittsburgh when I came here," Burress continued. "I had a relationship with Bill Cowher inside of football and outside of football. He always had an open-door policy to where you could come talk to him or tell him what was on your mind. When that was taken away from me, I kind of felt it was like: I'm the coach, you are the player. It doesn't matter what you have to say. You just do what I tell you to do."
"This is not college," he added. "This is professional sports. If you can't sit down and go talk to a man that you are busting your tail for, not even have the respect for anything that you have to say, like I said, the only thing I knew then was to rebel."
Burress' comments were scrutinized, but that doesn't bother him.
"It doesn't bother me at all," Burress told the newspaper. "All the things that I had to say, I'm pretty sure when we meet tomorrow, when we sit down face-to-face, we're going to lay it all on the table, man to man. That's what this whole thing is about. That's where I'm at. If there's a time for everything to be let out, it's now."
Selected eighth overall in the 2000 draft, he has 505 receptions for 7,845 yards and 55 touchdowns in nine seasons.
The Giants made a set of other moves on Tuesday, as sources confirmed the team will release longtime fixtures Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert. They might also cut tackle Shawn Andrews, who tweeted that he and the team failed to rework his contract.
The Giants also agreed to terms with versatile backup Kevin Boothe, according to sources.
Adam Schefter is an NFL reporter for ESPN Insider. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk and Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.