Michael Strahan: Plaxico Burress Will 'Come Back and Be a Great Player'
Burress could be released from prison on good behavior sometime in early June of 2011, at which time he is expected to explore a possible return to the NFL.
On Tuesday afternoon FanHouse had an opportunity to sit down with seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, where he was being honored by The March of Dimes as the "2010 Sportsman of the Year."
Strahan, a former teammate of Burress', has been to visit his Super Bowl XLII teammate since his incarceration and insists that the 33-year-old wideout "looks great."
"He said that, for the first time in years, his ankles, knees, back, and everything else feels great," Strahan said. "Sometimes a little break is good, and i think for him, he's actually had a chance to sit back and actually reflect and really appreciate what he's had in the past. I expect him to come back and be a great player."
Both the Giants and Jets have been rumored to have shown interest in Burress upon his release, while his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has insisted that other teams are speaking to him about his client. Strahan feels the Giants would be a good fit for Burress, and suggests that Burress consider taking a page from the Michael Vick career-revival playbook.
"I think anytime you go through something that is life changing, life altering, especially when you have a family," Strahan explained, "if you don't come out of a situation like that with more sense than you went into it with, then something's wrong with you. I definitely think Plaxico, with a wife and two kids, will come out with the same focus that Michael has shown he now has."
"Who wants to go through that again," Strahan asked. "Nobody."
Strahan, known for being an outspoken individual, has found early success in his post-NFL career as a FOX Sports commenter and broadcaster. He believes the game hasn't changed much since he left in 2007 -- but that how fans perceive the game is different.
With the NFL having fined James Harrison $125K on the season for a total of four illegal hits, Strahan argues that the NFL has allowed the fans to get used to the game being played a certain way, and now that they are enforcing a rule that has "always been there," the fans are reacting as if the game has gotten softer.
His advice for Harrison, who has threatened retirement for his fines, is to continue to hit as he sees fit -- and to simply rack up the fines. "He'd still be coming out millions of dollars richer," Strahan explained, "instead of retiring where he'd lose everything. Don't be listening to that mess, though. Be real, that man's not retiring."
Strahan also voiced his opinion on Derek Anderson, who is being mocked by other professional athletes for his postgame tirade, when he blew up at a reporter who asked a question about Anderson's playful demeanor during Monday night's Cardinals loss to the 49ers.
"Let me tell you, I've been in so many games on the bench when you're getting blown out and you look at the guys next to you and you're like, 'Man, we're getting our asses kicked,' and you both smile," Strahan said. "There's nothing you can do. Sometimes a smile masks the pain. So for them to take that as 'This guy doesn't care' is garbage."
"He's in a position where he's not one of the guys just sitting on the bench. He's actually out there where he can get his head beat in as a quarterback. He can get hit every time he drops back. This guy definitely takes his job serious, and it's one of those things where I think he was smiling to get over how bad the situation was."
Strahan himself had reason to smile Tuesday as the former All-Pro accepted his March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year award
As is often his charm, Strahan was able to put into words what it meant to him to receive this honor, while still remaining true to his spirited self.
"It means a lot," Strahan said. "Any time you can be involved with a charity like the March of Dimes that has a 70-year history of helping kids and babies, seeing as I have so many myself, it's something that hits home."
-- Additional reporting by Nando Di Fino.