|Could the Raiders or Steelers use Burress this season? (Getty Images)
Last week, free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, most recently of the New York Jets where he started 13 games in 2011 and had 45 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns, was admittedly puzzled that he was still looking for work. "No doubt about it," he said at the time. "With some of the things I was able to do after being away for two years, I pretty much thought it spoke for itself. But I guess obviously not."
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Burress' problems could stem from both reality and perception; the former: he's 34 years old and struggles to create separation in his pass routes. The latter: off-field issues likely haven't helped his employment status. To which Burress would like to remind you: "For anybody to say I was a problem in the locker room or anything like that is totally a lie," he said. "All I did was come out, was a great teammate, tried to play the best football that I could play."
This sounds like something right out of the Terrell Owens PR handbook. The difference: there's a chance Burress plays in the NFL this season. He's hinted that he'd like to join the Raiders and new coach Dennis Allen didn't reflexively nix the idea.
"I'll say this," Allen said according to CSNBayArea.com's Paul Gutierrez, "we're going to look at any options that are out there that we think can make us better. Whether or not we make any moves or not, that's to be determined. But we're not going to rule anything out."
Of course, the Raiders have both youth and depth at wide receiver, even if they're short on experience. (Alternatively: Burress has gobs of experience and look where that got him.) Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are all speedy big-play threats, and rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater could be the possession-type receivers to complement them.
Plus, this isn't the Al Davis Raiders, where baggage is embraced as quirkiness and rules aren't so much enforced as suggested.
But what about the
Well, with Mike Wallace currently holding out, the Steelers have Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery as the only three veteran wide receivers on the roster. After that, it's rookies and first-year players. Circumstances which prompted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette to write Saturday: "It's also early, but if the status quo holds -- Wallace stays away and no one joins the top three -- the Steelers may be forced to look elsewhere, either a current free agent (Plaxico Burress anyone?) or via trade."
As it stands, Burress remains a free agent. But in the NFL, where fortunes change from one play to the next and the next roster-shuffling injury is just a snap away, it's not unreasonable to think that Burress will play somewhere in 2012.
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