Burress Released By Giants Amid Legal Troubles
The New York Giants released wide receiver Plaxico Burress today
, apparently conceding that his off-field legal troubles were too big a burden and a distraction to the team.
Even before last November, Burress was no stranger to conflict with Giants management. He served a one-game suspension and was fined
early last season for an unexcused absence from a team practice. But his real troubles began, as is widely known, in a November nightclub incident in which he allegedly accidentally shot himself in the leg. This had consequences both professional and legal, as Burress was suspended for the remainder of the season by the Giants and then charged with two felony weapon-possession counts
by the state of New York.
With the criminal case adjourned this week until June 15, the
possibility that Burress could miss significant time over the summer or
even into next season began to look more likely. The weapons charges
are classified as violent felonies, and carry a minimum sentence of
three-and-a-half years. And the Giants were undoubtedly not looking
forward to the media-circus potential of having Burress's legal fate
undecided for much of the offseason, making the decision to cut ties a
Although Burress now becomes a free agent and can
look to sign with any team willing to assume the risk that he will
spend all or part of next season in the clink, his financial
relationship with the Giants will not be so cleanly cut. Burress has
two grievances pending against the team, both arising out of the
suspension the team doled out after the shooting incident. In one
grievance, heard before a special master this Wednesday
players' union representatives argued that the team could not
unilaterally decide to withhold $1 million of Burress's signing bonus
after suspending him; in the other, the special master will decide
whether the four-game suspension itself, and the resulting $1 million
in fines and lost pay, were penalties that the Giants could impose
under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement with the player's union.
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