Up till a few hours ago, only family, friends and hardcore Giants fans knew Taye Biddle. Now, after getting shot on Sunday outside his Decatur, Alabama home, pretty much everybody knows his story.
Signed by the Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2006, Biddle lasted just one season in Carolina. He was out of the NFL in '07, and made a brief pit stop in Detroit before landing on the Giants' practice squad last September.
Even though he took two bullets -- one to his hand, another in his leg -- the story wouldn't merit national attention if not for one minor detail: you see, Biddle is the guy the Giants signed to the 53-man roster to replace Plaxico Burress after he blew a hole in his leg back in November.
To Biddle's credit, at least he didn't shoot himself. Even better news: he's been released from the hospital and is doing well. And unlike Burress, who can't seem to walk out his front door without breaking the law, Biddle was minding his business.
A statement released by the Decatur Police Department said "there is no evidence to indicate that Biddle did anything to contribute, cause or provoke the shooting." One report said he was simply heading towards his car "to get something out of it when he was hit by gunfire". ...
A Giants spokesman said the reports are consistent with what Biddle has told them about the incident. "We have been in constant contact with Taye over the last two days and we are thankful he was able to walk away from this incident with relatively minor injuries," the spokesman said.
As the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano points out, this is the third incident involving a Giants wide receiver and a gun in the last two months. On Nov. 25, Steve Smith was robbed at gunpoint in front of his home, and three days later, Plaxico shot himself in the leg after claiming, ironically, that he was packing heat to protect himself. Brilliant.
Burress' future with the Giants -- and in the NFL -- is up in the air. He is currently suspended from New York, but remains under contract. Click through to see more of Plaxico's plight.
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Plaxico Burress surrendered to police Dec. 1 and was charged with two counts of illegal handgun possession. The Giants announced that he won't play the rest of the season. Click through to see how things have gone wrong for Burress since the Super Bowl.
Louis Lanzano, AP
David Tyree had the highlight reel catch of Super Bowl XLII, but Plaxico Burress had the game-winner. Eli Manning found Burress in the end zone for the championship-clinching catch - easily Burress' greatest moment as a pro.
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Unhappy with his contract situation, Burress skipped the Giants' mandatory summer mini-camp and then sat out much of the preseason with an ankle injury. Then, shortly before the start of the regular season, the Giants agreed to a five-year, $35-million contract extension with the disgruntled receiver.
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No mandatory mini-camp, no preseason, no problem. In New York's Week 1 win over Washington, Burress made 10 catches for 133 yards.
Seth Wenig, AP
In a stunning Week 6 Monday night loss to Cleveland, Burress scored a touchdown but was otherwise shut down - part of a sub-par season that has seen Burress fail to top 100 yards in any game other than the opener.
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Burress had a bit of a meltdown in the Giants' Oct. 19 win over San Francisco. The NFL fined him $45,000 for his actions in that game, when he verbally abused an official and threw a ball into the stands. That came just two weeks after the Giants suspended Burress for their Oct. 5 game for missing a team meeting.
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In an easy New York win over Baltimore during Week 11, Burress tweaked his hamstring. It was that injury that sidelined him him for Sunday's game against Washington.
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The latest Burress moment: Out at a club, just hours after it was reported that he would be inactive against the Redskins because of his hamstring injury, Burress suffered a gunshot wound to his leg - self-inflicted by accident.