Friday, July 29, 2011
Updated: July 30, 7:08 PM ET
Giants: 'Positive' meeting with Plax
By Ohm Youngmisuk
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Plaxico Burress spent 90 minutes talking to coach Tom Coughlin, general manager Jerry Reese, owner John Mara and several of his former teammates on Friday night.
The highly anticipated meetings were described by Reese as "positive," but the New York Giants have competition and it appears to be their hated NFC East rival.
A source close to Burress said Friday night that Burress has his eyes on the Philadelphia Eagles, who can deliver another monster blow to the Giants if they land Burress. The Eagles stunned many with their signing of top free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on Friday.
The Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams are all teams that are interested in Burress, according to ESPN NFL senior writer John Clayton.
Nearly an hour after Burress left the practice facility out of a side entrance without speaking, Reese described the situation with Burress as a "possibility."
"I would say it was positive conversations all the way around," the Giants general manager said. "I thought we had a good visit. We will see what comes out of this. Again, we don't bring people in for the fun of it. We bring people in to investigate if it's a possibility for the New York Giants. We think it's probably a possibility and we will see where it goes."
Burress arrived at the Timex Performance Center at 6:30 p.m. and left shortly after 8 p.m. The wide receiver spent an hour in a meeting with Coughlin before sitting down with Reese and Mara, CEO and co-owner, for about 15 minutes each.
Defensive end Justin Tuck believes that Coughlin and Burress can co-exist because they're two "grown men."
"Men make mistakes and you move on from it," Tuck said. "If that happens, then yes they can co-exist. Will they co-exist? I don't know. But, can they? Yes."
According to the team, Burress engaged in conversations with several of his former teammates and coaches, including his good friend Brandon Jacobs and former receivers and now quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan. He was greeted by numerous players in a hallway between the team's locker room and weight room as he was departing. In that same hallway, there's several wall-sized action pictures of Giants players past and present, including one of Burress making a catch.
Pat Hanlon, Giants vice president of communications, tweeted a photo of Burress staring up at the picture of himself for the first time, since he hasn't been to the new practice facility before.
"Seen plaxico 2nite he seemed happy and everyone they knew him seemed happy to see him again," tweeted linebacker Phillip Dillard.
"It was great to talk to him," Reese said. "It was a very private, personal conversation. It was a man-to-man conversation. We talked about some football. I am sure the head coach and him had a private conversation which is between them. It was a good visit."
Coughlin wanted to gauge the level of the free agent wideout's commitment to football again and whether the two can co-exist. Burress has described their relationship as frosty. Coughlin fined Burress numerous times for violating team rules and being tardy to meetings in the past.
"What I have to hear is sincerity," Coughlin said before their meeting. "I am looking forward to it. I will be open-minded about it. It is an opportunity for us to sit down [for] really what I feel will be Plaxico's opportunity to speak. I'm going to listen and decipher and I am going to ask questions, but basically I want to listen to what he has to say."
Coughlin said he did not take Burress' comments about their relationship personally. He was asked if Burress can change from the person he knew a few years ago and whether he can demonstrate that in a meeting.
"Let me say this to you: What is there to change?" Coughlin asked. "When you sign on to go to work for somebody, the basic thing is you got to go to work, you got to be there, you got to get on time. What is there to change? When you come down to it, that is the basic ingredient or rule. Understand your responsibility. People depend on you.
"I'm hoping what commitment means is commitment."
Coughlin was candid about meeting with Burress, who shot himself in the thigh in November 2008 and blew up the Giants' chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions. The Giants were 10-1 at the time of Burress' accident in a Manhattan nightclub, and they finished 12-4 before losing to the Eagles in the playoffs. Burress, who turns 34 on Aug. 12, then served nearly two years in prison on a gun charge.
Reese said he wasn't sure whether Burress was going to visit the Steelers next as ESPN NFL senior writer Chris Mortensen reported earlier this week.
The general manager also said he would not let the Eagles' signing of the top free agent on the market, Asomugha, dictate his decision-making with Burress. The Giants can certainly use another weapon like Burress to combat the Eagles, who have beaten the Giants six straight times, including their 2008 postseason encounter and last season's devastating come-from-behind 38-31 win at the Meadowlands.
"It is just one man," Reese said when asked about the Asomugha signing. "We love competition and he's a terrific football player. I'm just worried about the New York Giants.
"I can say the conversation we have is positive and that is what's most important and we'll see where it goes."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.