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Burress hearts Philly but Eagles shouldn't consider reciprocating

by | CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist
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Plaxico Burress leaves the the Jets with more questions than production. (US Presswire)  
Plaxico Burress leaves the the Jets with more questions than production. (US Presswire)  

Plaxico Burress wants to join the Philadelphia Eagles, and he'll have his chance as an unrestricted free agent. When that happens, the Eagles should waste no time getting in touch with Burress and doing what's necessary.

Which is to tell him no.

That's no, as in we have NO interest, there is NO place for you in the locker room and there's NO way on God's green earth this should happen. Simply put, it's a NO-can-do, and I'll tell you why.

First of all, Burress is a soon-to-be 35-year-old wide receiver with diminished skills. Second, the Eagles are stocked at wide receiver with younger, better and more reliable players. Third, and most important, Burress is a potential lightning rod in the locker room, with one AFC coach telling me he heard Burress wasn't all that terrific around the recalcitrant Santonio Holmes.

Great. Just what the Eagles don't need.

Nevertheless, Burress this week told Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic that joining the Eagles is what he wants now because, as he put it, "Instituting myself in that offense, it just adds a unique dynamic to what is already in place."

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Me? I think it adds unique dynamite to what is already in place, and, sorry, the Eagles have been down that road. The Dream Team thing didn't exactly work out, and it's time to move on.

Besides, the Eagles have more pressing issues at wide receiver, like the return of potential free agent DeSean Jackson. If they re-sign or franchise him -- and they should -- there is no way I want Burress in the same area code.

Jackson moped through parts of last season after the Eagles signed free agent Steve Smith to a one-year, $2.281 million deal -- or over $1.5 million more than Jackson pulled down -- and, while I don't condone his behavior, I get it. Jackson is far more valuable to the Eagles than Smith ever could be, yet couldn't get the money he believed he deserved.

So his attitude stunk. It happens. I just don't want it happening again.

Jackson produced a litany of inconsistent performances, got himself benched, then recovered for the final seven games of the season, made an impact and apologized afterward for allowing his contract situation to become a distraction.

The guy is a playmaker. He's young. He can fly. And he's a perfect fit for Michael Vick's game. When Vick scrambles, he's looking for someone, anyone, downfield, and the speedy Jackson often is that someone.

Having him back makes sense. Having Burress next to him does not.

I mean, we all saw what happened when the Eagles brought in Terrell Owens -- and he was more of a playmaker than Burress. Plus, he stayed out of trouble with the law. But he was a disruptive influence in the locker room, and I guess what I'm suggesting is that Burress can be one, too. So why take the risk when there's such little reward?

I wouldn't. And the Eagles shouldn't.

I understand Philadelphia coach Andy Reid is a compassionate man. I understand he believes in giving guys second chances. I understand Burress is a long-time Vick friend and that Vick could use a scoring threat inside the 20 -- basically, a third tight end -- to strengthen the league's 14th-ranked red-zone offense.

But I also understand that Burress is someone I don't want near young and impressionable wide receivers -- and I see plenty in a locker room that includes Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Riley Cooper.

Throw out his three touchdowns vs. San Diego last season, and Burress didn't make much of a ripple. In fact, he had three TDs the final nine games of 2011 -- a stretch when the Jets tried desperately to make a push for the playoffs. He never had more than four catches in any game the second half of the season and had one and none in two of those eight contests.

Translation: When they needed him most, he wasn't there.

Now he needs the Eagles ... or, at least, he says he does ... but they shouldn't be there for him. They tried assembling an all-star cast of veteran free agents, and look where it got them. Time to stick with what you have, Philadelphia, and what you have is a team that does not need Plaxico Burress.

Now or ever.

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