Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress has pleaded guilty to weapons charges and agreed to serve two years in prison, bringing to an end a case that began last year when Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg in a New York nightclub.
The New York Timesreports that Justice Michael H. Melkonian of State Supreme Court accepted the guilty plea, which will also require Burress to serve two years of post-release supervision. Legal analysts say Burress will likely serve around 20 months in prison.
Burress was indicted this month and would have faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 3.5 years in prison if he had been convicted by a jury. He was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second-degree reckless endangerment.
"After an agonizing period of discussion, Plaxico decided that he wanted to do this, put this behind him as quickly as possible, in the hope that when he is released he will be able to resume his stellar professional football career," attorney Benjamin Brafman said outside the courtroom.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 29, Burress walked into the Latin Quarter Nightclub in Manhattan with a loaded, unregistered .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol in the waistband of his jeans. The gun went off accidentally while Burress was inside the club, and the bullet lodged in his thigh.
The Giants placed Burress on the reserve/non-football injury list afterward, and they released him following the season. With a release date some time in 2011, it's likely that the 32-year-old Burress has played the final game of his NFL career.
On April 3, the Giants released Plaxico Burress, ending his turbulent four-year stay in New York. Click through to see more on how Burress' relationship with the Giants unraveled.
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David Tyree had the highlight reel catch of Super Bowl XLII, but Burress had the game-winner. It was easily Burress' top moment as a pro, but what followed was far less rewarding.
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Unhappy with his contract situation, Burress skipped the Giants' mandatory 2008 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.
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In a stunning Week 6 Monday night loss to Cleveland, Burress scored a touchdown but was otherwise shut down, all part of a sub-par season that saw Burress fail to top 100 yards receiving 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, which had him set to be inactive in Week 12 against Washington - until he suffered a more serious leg injury.
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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.
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Burress surrendered to police Dec. 1 and was charged with two counts of illegal handgun possession after shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub. The Giants also suspended him for the rest of the 2008-09 season.
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Burress found himself the subject of a lawsuit in late December, allegedly for striking a woman with his car. Then in March, Burress was cited for four traffic tickets on one stop - speeding, improper display of tags, improper lane change and improper window tinting.