View Full Version : Steelers looking forward to facing Burress

10-25-2008, 06:38 AM
Steelers look forward to facing ex-teammate Burress

It is uncommon when the Steelers let go of a player in trade or free agency and he goes on to have a more productive career with his new team, perhaps because the Steelers rarely let go of players whose best years are ahead of them, not behind them.

A case could be made for linebacker Mike Vrabel, who wasn't a starter with the Steelers but went on to become a Pro Bowl linebacker and Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots.

Maybe even cornerback Rod Woodson, who went to the Pro Bowl four times with the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders after the Steelers released him in 1996. But Woodson had already gone to the Pro Bowl seven times and was voted to the NFL's 75 th anniversary team during his 10-year stint with the Steelers.

Plaxico Burress, though, might be another matter.

"He's probably the best player we're going to face that's been with this team," inside linebacker James Farrior said.

Burress was the Steelers' No. 1 draft choice in 2000 and paired with Hines Ward in 2001 to become the first receiving tandem in team history to each have more than 1,000 yards receiving. A year later, they set another team record for most catches by a receiving duo (190) in a season when Ward had 112 and Burress 78.

Burress also set the club record for receiving yards in a game (253) in 2002 against the Atlanta Falcons.

But, after the 2004 season, the Steelers had to make a choice: Extend the contract of Ward, their all-time leading receiver, or re-sign Burress, who was an unrestricted free agent. They were not going to keep both for salary-cap reasons.

They chose Ward.

"There's always going to be comparisons -- do you keep Hines, do you keep Plax," Ward said. "The deal worked out for the best for both of us. I'm not 6-foot-5; Plax isn't out there doing the same things I'm doing. We're two different guys.

"But he's developed into a threat. He's always had that potential to be a threat and winning the Super Bowl makes him more of a threat. I'm just happy to see him doing well. I don't get into who's better -- Hines or Plax. I never thought about that."

But, since signing with the Giants in free agency in 2005, Burress has emerged as one of the most productive, most explosive receiving threats in the league.

He has caught 32 touchdowns from Eli Manning, including three this season, more than any other wide receiver-quarterback tandem in the NFL since 2005.

And, like Ward, he caught the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl -- a 13-yarder with 35 seconds remaining that allowed the Giants to upset the unbeaten New England Patriots.

That's why his former teammates are looking forward to facing Burress for the first time when the Giants (5-1) play the Steelers (5-1) at 4:15 p.m. tomorrow at Heinz Field.

"He's well-liked in this locker room," Farrior said. "We're definitely going to have to have something special for Plax."

"He's going to be jacked to come here and play well," cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "He's going to be a big challenge. In order for us to beat them, we have to contain Plax."

"When he was here, you could see he had the potential; he was on the rise," said inside linebacker Larry Foote. "Now I think, shoot, I think he is arguably one of the best in the league, if not the best. It's going to be fun to see him."

Burress is probably a more complete receiver than he was with the Steelers, gaining more field awareness, learning how to use his 6-foot-5, 230-pound body and even learning to catch the fade pass -- something with which he struggled with the Steelers

Still, his signature remains the big play. Of Manning's 10 longest scoring passes, nine have been to Burress.

"I think Plax was phenomenal when he was here, so it's hard for me to say he's gotten any better," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "He just continues to make plays and it doesn't surprise me because I know how good he was.

"I always thought Plax was one of the best players we had. I think the fans gave him a short leash and [did] not give him the fair end of the stick. He seems to be happy now and I am happy for him."

"He is a tremendous player and a tremendous athlete; a guy who wants to be good," Manning said. "He is such an athlete out there that he presents mismatches with cornerbacks just because of his size and his ability. He has done a great job making big plays for us over his career here."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


10-25-2008, 08:52 AM
No doubt Plax has become a Top 10'er and a deep scoring threat with the Giants, but his maturity level has remained about the same. The Steelers D needs to get into his head early, make him hear footsteps and get under his skin at every opportunity by taking away his lanes and hitting him hard if he makes a play.

10-25-2008, 11:55 AM
Still the same player that Left the 'Burgh.
Immature, gets fined, into trouble and a good welcome get would be a mouth full of blood.
Of course they will go to Plax early in the game so the Steelers defense needs to play him tight, man up and smack him in the mouth.

10-25-2008, 05:48 PM
living in new york i see a lot of the giants (when pit is in primetime).

he's exactly the same except he catches more balls now because he has more thrown his way. his line usually reads: 8 catches, 13 times thrown to. or 10 catches, 17 times thrown to.

he is and always was a very good receiver, but not worth the #9 pick and all that $. i want my #9 wide receiver pick to become moss, rice or owens.

10-25-2008, 08:07 PM
I personally don't miss Plaxico.

10-25-2008, 08:58 PM
Plax is definitely a top 10 WR, but at this point I'm happy with having Holmes, Washington, Sweed, and Baker and using the money that would've gone to Plax somewhere else.