|Burress still thinks he can play the game at a high level.|
I was initially skeptical when the Jets signed former jailbird Plaxico Burress last season, especially considering they had decided to let go of Braylon Edwards. But if you compare the two receivers' stat lines, the edge goes to Burress. He had 45 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns; Edwards had 15 catches for 181 yards and zero TDs in nine games.
Apparently, the two-year jail sentence didn't hold back Burress as much as I thought it would.
Though he's still a free agent, the same as Edwards come to think of it, Burress feels he still has plenty left to offer a team, even though he'll turn 35 before next season.
That's why he says he wants to play with the Panthers.
Want to hear a huge coincidence? Burress apparently badly wanted to play for the Eagles in February. And before that, the Giants.
But now, he's changed his mind, and Carolina is where he wants to be (or, you know, 29 other NFL cities).
“No doubt about it,” Burress told the Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte (via sportsradiointerviews.com). “My brother lives right there in Charlotte, my cousin lives there in Charlotte and all my family is there in Columbia, South Carolina. It would just be a great situation all the way around and being close to everybody. Not just that but playing with Cam (Newton), who I think is one of the top five quarterbacks in all of football. And as long as I can remember, Steve Smith has been one of my favorites. I just think it's a great situation.”
Burress also was asked why there hasn't been much interest in his services this offseason. I mean, it's not like he's Terrell Owens. Although he supposedly participated in the attempted coup of then-Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, it's not like Burress was a disruptive teammate. (Of course, it's hard to look like a disruptor when you're teammates with Santonio Holmes. Even at your worst behavior, you'll look like nothing more than a wannabe straw-stirrer.)
“It's just getting to the right fit,” Burress said. “I've been around and I understand the game from a mental standpoint. I'm very knowledgeable about the guys out there that are playing. I know what they do well and what they don't do well, and I just want to put myself in a position to go out and have success and to go out and make guys around me better. And, obviously, play with a quarterback who can really play the position. It's about me picking my spots and seeing where I'm a good fit.
“You just look at a situation like Carolina, and you can't come across a better situation than that. Playing with Steve Smith, who is a guy that demands a double team, you look at a guy like Greg Olsen getting up and down the seams and you put a guy like me on the back side and teams have trouble saying ‘Who are we going to cover? Who are we going to double?' I've been playing this game for a long time, and it comes down to matchups. You put guys in one-on-one situations and guys win. It's a place that I would love to come play, and we will see what happens.”
It might not be a bad fit for the Panthers as well. Aside from Smith, the other Panthers assumed starter is Brandon LaFell, and the depth in the receiver corps is young and inexperienced. Maybe Burress could become a mentor to some of those players, like David Gettis or Kealoha Pilares. But that's only if you believe that he won't be a disruptive teammate. Otherwise, for a guy in his mid-30s, it doesn't seem likely he'll continue to play at an elite level for much longer.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.