Despite a history of troubling off-the-field behavior, Plaxico Burress became one of the most sought after free agent receivers in the post-lockout NFL this year. Released from prison in June, the teams he once played for (The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants) quickly became the front runners for his services, but he instead signed with the New York Jets when they offered him a contract worth just over $3 million.

Burress landed himself behind bars for a December, 2008 incident in a nightclub involving a discharge of a handgun for which he had no permit or license to carry. A subsequent search of his home uncovered more guns and resulted in Burress being indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and a single count of reckless endangerment in the second degree, both felonies. A plea deal gave way to a two year sentence in 2009, which Burress served out faithfully.

Comparisons to Michael Vick are already cropping up on sports networks, but Vick's redemption turned out to be a much longer and more painful road. The former Eagles quarterback lost multiple big ticket sponsors and faced an immense backlash from animal lovers after being ensnared in a dog fighing operation. Even after his release from prison, Vick's critics were relentlessly unforgiving. He wound up having to put up some outstanding numbers for his new team to get analysts and fans to start singing a different tune about his character. Eventually, he earned himself the nickname "Starship 7" and even won back a Nike sponsorship he lost in the wake of his dog fighting scandal.

Plaxico Burress didn't injure anyone but himself leading up to his arrest, and though his case was controversial it was not nearly as nasty as Vick's. He's already on the fast track to reinvention with just one preseason start under his belt. Burress raised a few eyebrows when he immediately tweaked his ankle in practice before the preseason even began for the Jets, but he recovered nicely. The 6-foot-5-inch Burress gave third-year Jets QB Mark Sanchez a surefire downfield target this past Sunday and made a believer out of Jets Coach Rex Ryan. Three catches for 66 yards and a 26-yard touchdown grab proved Burress is back and ready to play some phenomenal football. For a guy coming off a two year break from the NFL, the performance was surprising to say the least.

Beating the Bengals 27-7 in the pre-season might not be much to brag about, but it surely calmed the nerves of Head Coach Rex Ryan, who threw his headset halfway across the field during a week one 20-16 Jets loss to the Texans. Ryan went into meltdown after realizing there were too many men on the field for a goal line stand, forcing him to burn a time out. The tirade proved how seriously Ryan takes every game, even ones that don't really count. This is a coach who can be a real tyrant when things go wrong, and Burress should feel right at home under his leadership. Coming fresh off a disciplined life under the close watch of prison guards, Burress should adapt well to being a key cog in Ryan's offense. Long before going to prison, Burress spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, so Ryan should serve as a perfect drill sergeant for the veteran receiver as he blends back into the NFL mix.

From Ryan's perspective Burress gives him a leg up on his most formidable competition going into this lockout-shortened NFL season. The New England Patriots made some huge offensive and defensive pickups this year, even snatching Defensive End Shaun Ellis from the Jets. Burress could be New England's cryptonite, though. After all, before his prison stretch Burress helped the New York Giants ruin what could have been a perfect season for the Patriots by making the game-winning grab in Super Bowl XLII. Now in the same division as New England, Burress must buoy his team past the Patriots this year to make it back to the Super Bowl.

The best is yet to come for this talented receiver who is very capable of amassing more than 1,000 yards receiving and could even break some records this year if he remains in good health. He's a towering deep threat Mark Sanchez sorely needs, and he's bound to make multiple circus catches this year to prevent the young QB from making too many mistakes that plagued him in years past. Burress can be a game changer even on a slow day, and he has more than 3 million reasons to shine this season. The Jets were wise to outbid his former teams and add a star receiver to their offensive mix. Unless he suffers a season-ending injury it's hard to believe he could let them down based on the way he stormed out of the gates on Sunday.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!