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BigChiefFan
03-18-2005, 02:43 PM
Giants Sign WR Plaxico Burress
Former top ten (#8, 2000) pick adds size, speed and play-making ability to receiving corps.
By Michael Eisen, Giants.com

March 18, 2005

East Rutherford, NJ - The Giants significantly upgraded their wide receiver corps today when they announced the signing of free agent Plaxico Burress, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Burress, 6-5 and 226 pounds, the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, has 262 career receptions and has scored 22 touchdowns. He is the fifth veteran free agent signed by the Giants.



WR Plaxico Burress is now a New York Giant.
“He makes us a better football team, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Tom Coughlin said. “He is a guy who has an imposing physical presence. And because he does have the ability to be a long-ball threat, he is a guy that will force defenses to pay particular attention to where he is. He has been used in the slot, he’s been used in motion, and he is a big-play threat from any of those positions.

“He is a tremendous threat in the green zone. Anytime he’s one-on-one, no matter what the coverage is, if you’re only spending one defender on the guy, he has a knack for finding a way to get the ball. He’s a big target. He can catch the ball with his hands above his head, which puts him well above most corners and most safeties.”

In 2004, Burress led the 15-1 Steelers with five touchdown catches among his 35 receptions for 698 yards (a 19.9-yard average that was second in the NFL). He was hampered by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five of the last six games, including a game against the Giants on December 18. Burress’ best game was on October 10, when he caught six passes for 136 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland. He caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s two postseason games, including three in the AFC Championship Game against New England.

“I’m definitely excited,” Burress said. “I get an opportunity to go out and play with a great offense. Everybody knows about Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey. Hopefully, we can all grow to be a better team and a better offense. I look forward to getting here and working with Eli Manning. Hopefully, we’ll get on the same page and Manning-to-Burress will become a big thing around here. It’s going to be fun.”

“I’m really excited to have Plaxico come aboard,” Manning said. “I’m ready to come back next week and I’m looking forward to working together during the offseason program.”

The official start of the Giants’ offseason program is on Monday.

Burress first visited the Giants last week. After he met with coaches and members of the front office, the two sides failed to come to an agreement, and the Giants announced they had withdrawn their offer. But the two sides remained mutually interested, and following Burress’ switch in representation to Drew Rosenhaus, contract discussions were revived yesterday and an agreement was reached last night.

“In free agency, when a player leaves our facility, we withdraw the offer and go on to other things,” general manager Ernie Accorsi said. “We announced it this time because there had been so much attention directed at this negotiation that we wanted to make it clear to the public and in addition, we didn’t want our offer taken on the road and shopped. When we resumed talks yesterday (Thursday), we went right back to the point we were at last week.”

From that point, the two sides rapidly reached an agreement.

“We have had a history of finishing deals quickly with Drew Rosenhaus,” Accorsi said. “He’s a closer, doesn’t waste time and gets to the point.”

Because of his quiet nature, Burress has occasionally been portrayed as arrogant or aloof. The Giants are convinced the depictions are inaccurate, and that Burress is a reserved person who doesn’t reveal much of himself. They like the work ethic he will bring to Giants Stadium.

“The thing I think is most impressive about him is that he knows full well he has a lot to improve on,” Coughlin said, “and he’s looking forward to the opportunity of doing that.”

Burress can be flamboyant on the field, but insists he is reserved off of it.

“I think that plays a role in my perception as a person,” he said. “As far as some of the things that were said about me, it was kind of shocking to me. I never rubbed anybody the wrong way. I sat back and listened to what was going on. I don’t have too much to say. People don’t really know me, and I don’t give people a chance to know me, because I don’t talk a lot. I sit back and observe. I guess I’m going to have to open up my mouth a little bit more. I have a feeling they (the media) are going to make me do that.

“I guess that’s how life is – we’re all put in positions where we have to go out and prove ourselves on a daily basis. I plan on doing that and coming in here, having an impact and making the guys around me better. Hopefully we can come together and accomplish our goal, which is to win a world championship.”

Burress joins an offense that includes Manning, the improving second-year quarterback, Shockey, the dynamic tight end, and a pair of franchise record-holders in running back Barber and wide receiver Amani Toomer. The Giants’ other starter at wide receiver last season was Ike Hilliard, who was released early this month.

“I’m a firm believer that you can’t have enough playmakers,” Coughlin said. “Burress gives us another solid playmaker. He’s excited about being here with Eli and Shockey and Tiki and our offensive team. He provides us with another very important piece of the puzzle in terms of helping our offensive team be more productive – not only on third down, not only in the green zone, but on the scoreboard with points on the board.”

Burress is particularly excited about having the opportunity to play with Manning. Last season, he caught passes from the other outstanding NFL rookie quarterback, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.

“You expect a guy with as much talent as Eli to just get better, and I believe Eli is going to do that,” Burress said. “Eli is an up-and-coming quarterback who’s going to be a great player in this league. I just want us to get on the same page real quick. The faster we do that, the more exciting it will be. We have a lot of years ahead of us and the best football in front of us. Like I said, Manning to Burress. I'm looking forward to it.”

Burress is also looking forward to having a more varied role in the Giants’ offense than he had with the Steelers.

“I asked Coach Coughlin if I would have the freedom to move around,” he said. “In Pittsburgh, I came out of the huddle and I was basically in one spot. It was easy for teams to double cover me, because in the type of offense I was in; I wasn’t able to move around a lot. I didn’t have a lot of freedom. Having the option to move around and be able to go in motion and create some one-on-one matchups, that’s an opportunity that I’ve been waiting for. I believe I can go out and play at a level with some of the best receivers in this game. All I ask for is an opportunity, and coach is willing to give me an opportunity. I told him if you give me an opportunity you can get the best out of me.”

The Giants have improved at several positions with their offseason acquisitions. They signed middle linebacker Antonio Pierce (Washington), offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie (Jets), kicker Jay Feely (Atlanta) and defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy (Pittsburgh), plus Burress.

“In the major phase of free agency, we wanted to sign a playmaker on each side of the ball, an offensive tackle and a kicker,” Accorsi said. “We don’t have a first round draft choice, but we feel we signed three first-round talents. And very importantly, all three players and the kicker are all young. These are long-term commitments, not stop gaps. Now it’s up to them to get the job done.”

“What we’ve done is add young, talented healthy football players who are coming into the most productive part of their careers,” Coughlin said. “That holds true for Pierce, McKenzie, Feely, Clancy and Burress. I think that’s been very consistent for us. Our challenge is ongoing. We’re still reaching out to do everything we can to get the proper collection of athletes. We have thoroughly studied our 2004 season and are making the necessary adjustments to go forward. With the development of Eli and the excitement and the hope that’s been created because of that, we can go forward with more pieces to the puzzle, and surround him with playmakers.

“The McKenzie addition gives us a chance to be much more solid up front. It adds another outstanding football player -- a big, strong, powerful right tackle -- to our mix offensively, which we believe will allow us to be a more productive offensive team. Hopefully, the result is going to be more points.”

With Burress on board, the Giants could have one of the most exciting corps of receivers in franchise history. In addition to Toomer and Burress, speedsters Tim Carter and Jamaar Taylor expect to overcome injuries to make significant contributions this year. Carter’s 2004 season ended after five games because of a hip injury. Taylor, who was recovering from ACL surgery when he was drafted by the Giants last year, had quad and hamstring injuries that limited him to eight games last season.

“Tim Carter has to prove to himself, first and foremost, that he can play 16 games,” Coughlin said. “In the time I’ve been here, prior to his injury, the improvement in that young man’s play was dramatic. Jamaar Taylor, my experience has been when you have a guy coming off an ACL it’s a very difficult year. The balance of the player changes, because the player’s body is trying to adjust itself to the severity of that injury and the rehab. The hamstrings and the quads I hope are behind him, because if they are, we’ve got a guy that proved in the games he played what kind of threat he can be. Jeremy returning to full health (after playing with back problems last year) – it substantiates my thought about playmakers.”

Burress is certainly one. His finest season was 2002, when he caught 78 passes for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns. The year before, he caught 66 passes for 1,008 yards and six scores. In 2003, he had 60 receptions for 860 yards and four touchdowns.

Burress has 12 career 100-yard receiving games. He has played in 71 games with 66 starts.

The Steelers selected Burress on the first round of the 2000 draft. His rookie season ended after 12 games because of a wrist injury that required surgery.

Burress played just two seasons at Michigan State (he made himself eligible for the draft after his junior year) but finished second in school history in touchdown receptions (20), third in catches (131) and fourth in receiving yards (2,155). He was a Parade All-America at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Va.

Burress was born on Aug. 12, 1977 in Norfolk.

The Giants also announced they have re-signed running back Mike Cloud.

Cloud joined the Giants on Sept. 6, 2004, three days after he was released by the New England Patriots. He played in 10 games and finished second on the team with three rushing touchdowns, including two at Minnesota on October 31. Cloud rushed for 90 yards on 21 carries. He is expected to again back up Tiki Barber.

In 2002, the 5-10, 205-pound Cloud led the Super Bowl champion Patriots with a career-high five rushing touchdowns, despite playing in only five games. He scored two touchdowns against Tennessee on Oct. 5 and two at Indianapolis on Nov. 30. After that performance, Cloud was inactive for the final seven games of the season, including three in the postseason. He finished the season with 118 yards on 27 carries.

Cloud’s career totals are 589 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 169 carries, plus 13 receptions for 100 yards. He also has a 21.3-yard average on 56 kickoff returns.

Cloud entered the NFL as a second-round draft choice by Kansas City in 1999, the 53rd overall selection. His most productive season for the Chiefs was his rookie year, when he rushed for 128 yards and caught three passes. The following year, Cloud played in all 16 games with four starts.

After four seasons with the Chiefs, Cloud signed with New England as a free agent.

Cloud finished his career as the career rushing leader at Boston College, a record that has since been broken by Derrick Knight, who was briefly with the Giants this summer. In 45 games (13 starts) for the Eagles, Cloud rushed for 3,597 yards and 25 touchdowns. As a senior in 1998, he set a Big East record with 1,729 yards on 308 carries, a 5.6-yard average.


Copyright New York Giants 2005

Count Alex's Losses
03-18-2005, 02:44 PM
Profootballtalk.com repots the Chiefs are interested in trading for Giants WR Plaxico Burress.

BigChiefFan
03-18-2005, 02:50 PM
Profootballtalk.com repots the Chiefs are interested in trading for Giants WR Plaxico Burress.
ROFL That was good stuff.