Burress doesn’t expect to be back
Burress doesn’t expect to be back
By Rob Rossi
Monday, January 24, 2005
Plaxico Burress catches footballs for a living; he just likely won't catch them in Pittsburgh next season.
"Probably so," Burress said last night when asked if the Steelers' 41-27 loss to New England in the AFC Championship game was his final contest in Pittsburgh.
"It's Pittsburgh - history speaks for itself. (The Steelers are) not going to change and I'm not going to change. I'm just going to keep trying to be one of the greats, but three or four balls just doesn't suit me very well. Everybody keeps telling me how important a person I am on this football team, but you can't justify that for me right now. Just look at the whole season - it speaks for itself."
Prior to the start of these playoffs, Burress spoke openly about wanting to dominate the NFL's postseason. In two games, he caught five passes for 67 yards, including a cosmetic touchdown late in the fourth quarter last night.
On the season, he caught just 35 passes for 698 yards (a 19.8 average) and five touchdowns in 11 games - his lowest totals across the board since his rookie campaign in 2000.
"I just don't feel like I'm involved (with this offense) - that's the way I feel," Burress said. "I said that I wanted to be more involved with this offense at the beginning of the season. If you have guys who can go out there and make plays for you, you should give them the opportunity to make plays, you know, put some onus on our shoulders. But I can't change things."
Burress has a tattoo across his upper back that reads "Everything Happens For A Reason"; whatever the reason for his lack of inclusion in the Steelers' offensive plans over these past two weeks remains unknown to him.
"I'd like to think I could have made a little bit of an impact, but that's the game plan," he said. "But, all I can do is go out and do what the coaches put in the game plan. You can make all the suggestions in the world, but at the end of the day, you have to go out and follow the game plan."
As has seemingly always been the case with Burress over his five seasons in Pittsburgh, things didn't turn out as planned.
Perhaps had he hauled in a lob pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter last night, Burress' Steelers-life would have ended differently? He was able to get one hand on a pass that, if caught, would have pulled the Steelers to within seven points of the Patriots at 31-24, pending a successful extra point by Jeff Reed.
But Burress, who was sandwiched between two Patriots' defenders when he stretched for the ball, didn't come through when Roethlisberger and the Steelers needed him most.
Ironically, the Steelers were counting on Burress to serve as Roethlisberger's security blanket during the rookie's playoff run.
"I got pretty close to it," Burress said of the pass, "but it wasn't close enough that I could grab it."
Such was also the case with the Steelers and a trip to the Super Bowl - a game Burress envisioned playing in as a way to close out his career in Pittsburgh.
Burress played in two AFC Championship games with the Steelers. If they make it back, they'll likely do so without him - not exactly the news Roethlisberger, Burress' best friend on the team, wanted to hear after his worst game.
"Ben is a great quarterback, and there's no question about it," Burress said. "You put guys around him to make plays and he's going to be a great quarterback, because he has all the attributes to be one of the great ones in this league.
"But as far as what he's able to do and what I'm able to do - it just doesn't fit. Somebody has to make a change."
If Burress has his way, that somebody will be him.
Re: Burress doesn’t expect to be back
Pittsburgh isn't a town to put up with the me first attitude. They like Hines better anyway. He'll be gone.