The New York Giants surprised many Friday, announcing the release of wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
The move comes just three days after a gun possession case against Burress was adjourned until June. Burress accidentally shot himself at a nightclub late last season. The Giants suspended Burress for the remainder of the season after the Nov. 29 incident, but his attorneys have been working to get the case taken care of before the 2009 season.
The Giants say they were patient with the Burress situation, but they couldn't wait anymore. In addition to Burress' dragging legal issues, he also likely faces some sort of discipline from the NFL.
"I am an optimist, and I believe most situations can be worked out," said General Manager Jerry Reese. "We hung in there as long as we could in hopes that there could be a resolution to this situation other than the decision we made today to release Plaxico. It wasn't to be, so now we have to move on. Like everybody else here, we want nothing but the best for Plaxico, and we are appreciative of the contributions he made to this franchise."Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who was non-committal about Burress' potential return, also issued a statement through the team.
"Plaxico's contribution to our championship season in 2007 can never be underestimated or undervalued. He displayed tremendous determination throughout that season. Having said that, I have always been as concerned about Plaxico as a man as I have been about him as a player, and my hope is that everything that has happened over the past several months represents a turning point. He is a young man with a family who has a whole lifetime ahead of him, and I personally wish him and his family well."Months before shooting himself, Burress did catch the game-winning touchdown pass in a Super Bowl victory over New England, and he wasn't causing the kind of trouble many figured he would when he got a big free-agent contract from the Giants.
Previously, the Giants had said they were "open" to Burress returning to the team, but it's obvious that the delays in getting his legal situation resolved had some sort of an impact on their thinking. Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News says it's not yet clear why the Giants had a change of heart and made this decision.
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