The New York Giants released Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress on Friday, a little more than four months after the talented but troubled wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the thigh in a New York City nightclub.
Burress' four-year tenure with the Giants was highlighted by a game-winning touchdown catch in the Super Bowl against the previously undefeated New England Patriots in February 2008, but it also was dogged by fines and suspensions.
Burress' status had been uncertain since he shot himself on Nov. 29 with an unlicensed gun he'd stuffed into his waistband and carried into the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan. He faces a felony weapons charge that could put him in prison for at least 3 1/2 years if convicted.
Burress' case was adjourned on Tuesday while his attorneys and
prosecutors worked on a possible plea agreement. He is due back in
court on June 15.
The 31-year-old, who was suspended by the Giants for the final four weeks of the season for conduct detrimental to the team and fined after the shooting, also faces possible NFL sanctions for violating its personal conduct policy.
The delay in ending the case in court earlier this week appeared to play a role in the Giants' decision.
"I am an optimist, and I believe most situations can be worked out," general manager Jerry Reese said in announcing the decision. "We hung in there as long as we could in hopes that there could be a resolution to this situation other than the decision we made today to release Plaxico.
"It wasn't to be, so now we have to move on. Like everybody else here, we want nothing but the best for Plaxico, and we are appreciative of the contributions he made to this franchise."
Burress caught 344 passes with the Giants, which places him 12th
on the franchise's career list, one catch ahead of Earnest Gray and
three behind Aaron Thomas. Burress had 3,681 receiving yards and
caught 33 touchdown passes for the Giants.
Burress' Giants teammates had been supportive about his possible
return. The Giants lost four of their final five games after Burress was suspended and placed on the non-football injury list, meaning he also could not appear in the playoffs.
The Giants finished 12-5, losing at home in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants signed Burress to a five-year, $35 million contract extension in September.