1. Former Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress is scheduled to be released from jail in 13 days.
The 33 year old wide out has not played in the NFL since 2008 but a strong market is expected for the former 1st round pick. The Philadelphia Eagles are considered an early front runner for Plaxico’s services.
Interest from his former team the New York Giants is said to be “lukewarm” and close associates to Burress are insisting on him getting out of New York “scene” but the New York Jets are expected to be among the teams that look into Burress and possibly show considerable interest.
What about a possible reunion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that drafted Burress in the 1st round in the 2000 draft?
Sources indicate Steelers ownership is not against the team pursuing Burress, if Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin had interest in the 6-foot-5 wideout.
For his part, Burress was always a good teammate and never burned any bridges with the Rooney’s.
There is also some talk going around that the Rooney’s feel Pittsburgh could rehabilitate Burress and be a great situation for him to grow as a person.
However, the Steelers are not expected to actively pursue Burress and the only scenario those around the league see Burress landing in Pittsburgh is if there were to be a very limited market, which is not expected.
2. Bringing in Burress would have it’s positives and negatives. 1. For one it would be a low risk move where the Steelers could see how things workout in camp and go from there. 2. The Steelers lack a big tall dominating force in the redzone and if Burress could come close to his old self, the Steelers would have one of the most dynamic group of receivers in the game. 3. Although there is a lot of intrigue with the Steelers receiving corps, there are some concerns; Hines Ward is another year older; Emmanuel Sanders is coming off two foot surgeries; 4. With not a lot of wear and tear over past couple years, Burress could be more than just a one year player. 5. Burress and Ben Roethlisberger had a great relationship in 2004.
The possible negatives of bringing Burress to Pittsburgh include; 1. haltering the development of second year players Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. 2. How would Burress handle possibly starting the season behind Wallace, Ward and Sanders?;
Due to the Steelers not having a big need at the receiver position, it’s likely Burress won’t have much interest in Pittsburgh, even if they were to reach out.
Burress had his best NFL season with the Steelers in 2002, collecting 78 receptions for 1,325 yards. He has 505 receptions for 7,845 yards and 78 touchdowns in 128 career games.
3. Hines Ward is on the verge tonight of a “likely” Dancing with the Stars Championship. Joining Dancing with the Stars could not have went better for Ward. Already a very marketable guy who was going to continue to make a lot of money out of football, Ward is making himself several more millions.
The Hines Ward “brand” is now more than just being the wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What’s ridiculous about the lockout is that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was not permitted to attend the Dancing with the Stars finale on Monday due to NFL lockout rules of no player – coaches interaction.
4. As many as 20 + Steelers are planning workouts together in Pittsburgh following Memorial Day weekend. The Super Bowl XLV loss still stings for several players and whenever there is a 2011 season, those close to the team believe this is going to be a much more motivated group to start the season than we’ve seen from previous Steelers teams following a Super Bowl.
Several young players will be among those in attendance for the daily workouts. As I reported last week, Limas Sweed will be among them, working out with Big Ben and others. It is a very smart move by Sweed to come into town and get some reps with Ben.
5. The Pirates entered tonight’s game against the Atlanta Braves with a 22-24 record and what’s pretty impressive for them to be just two games below .500 at the 46 game mark is that through the first two months of the season they will have gotten no production from Pedro Alvarez who is batting .208 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI’s.
The hope inside the organization is that the time off gives Alvarez a better opportunity to get his bat on-track due to instructional work and a possible minor league assignment. He hit 16 home runs in his final 78 games last season. He has showed up this season to be completely over matched at the plate.