NEW YORK - Locked up for 20 months for illegally carrying and firing a gun in a Manhattan nightclub, Plaxico Burress is ready to walk out of prison and face another grim reality, a lockout that could jeopardize the resumption of his football career.
The former New York Giants receiver who caught the game-winning pass in the 2008 Super Bowl is set to leave the Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York today. Burress, who turns 34 in August, plans to return to his Florida home to spend time with his wife, son and a daughter born while he was in jail.
Unlike the Eagles' Michael Vick, released in 2009 from a federal term for dogfighting, Burress doesn't have a league waiting to bid on his services.
But "he will play in the NFL this year," Drew Rosenhaus, Burress' agent, said in an email to the AP. "Many teams want him. He will be a top free agent. He is healthy and ready to go. He will be signed shortly after the lockout ends."
Burress' release caps a more than 3-year saga that saw yet another athlete put behind bars, separated from family and friends and losing the riches and lifestyle most only dream about.
"You go from being the absolute hero to finding yourself in jail for a mistake in judgment," Peter M. Frankel, Burress' attorney, told the AP in an interview. "It's really a tragic story."
Burress will face no further disciplinary action by the NFL. His league suspension was concurrent with his jail term.
Vick said in a radio interview with WIP that Burress would be a great fit with the Eagles.
"I think certainly Plaxico is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder the same way I did, and he'll go out and help this football team to whatever capacity he can," Vick said. "I think the guys would be willing to embrace him and bring him in. If that happens? Who knows? We talking about 'what ifs' now? It would certainly be a good thing."