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Plaxico says he has no anger towards former team


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Jets' Plaxico Burress says he has 'no anger' towards Giants as he prepares to play his former team

Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 8:27 PM Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 8:39 PM

By Jenny Vrentas/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

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William Perlman/The Star-LedgerPlaxico Burress will face his former team when the Jets play the Giants on Saturday.

Plaxico Burress wanted a “fresh start” for his NFL return.

He got that at the Jets, cross-town rival of the team that the receiver helped win a Super Bowl. But Saturday night at the newly minted MetLife Stadium, his past will meet his present — just four weeks after Burress chose the Jets from a list of suitors that also included the Giants.

Video: Plaxico Burress speaks about the Giants and his starting over with the Jets

NY Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress speaks to the media about his decision to play for the Jets and about closure with the Giants and about the good times he had over at the Giants. (Video by William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)

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Burress said he isn’t too concerned about what reception he’ll receive from fans at the preseason game, hosted by the Giants. He also claimed he feels no extra motivation as he prepares to face his former teammates and coaches.

“There was no anger toward anybody over there,” Burress said. “Everything that happened, I brought this on myself.”

Burress suffered a minor lower-back injury going up for a pass in Tuesday’s practice, but he was able to practice today, and the injury is not expected to affect his status for Saturday’s game. Burress said he just felt a little soreness and “wouldn’t quite call it an injury” — meaning this anticipated matchup is still on.

After serving a 20-month prison sentence for illegal gun possession, Burress had a handful of teams interested in signing the free agent. He visited with two clubs he played for, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Giants, before picking the Jets. Burress said money didn’t drive his decision, because he could have signed for more money or two or three years elsewhere, rather than his one-year, $3.017 million deal with the Jets.

Burress said he now feels “at home” in Florham Park and believes he made the right decision.

“I just wanted to go somewhere and get a fresh start,” he said. “I think I deserve that, being everything that I went through. ... The atmosphere that (coach) Rex (Ryan) has created here, it’s so beautiful and it’s contagious. I come out here every day, and I’m just happy to be over here on this side. They treat you well.”

Burress was with the Giants in November 2008, when he accidentally shot himself at a Manhattan nightclub. The incident led to a nearly three-year absence from football and Burress’ release from the Giants in April 2009.

That Giants team appeared headed for a run at a second straight Super Bowl championship but lost steam after losing Burress.

“We had a really good team, there was no doubt about it,” Burress said. “It’s unfortunate everything happened the way that it did. I’ve moved on.”

Burress said he visited the Giants during free agency “more to have some closure.” He sat down with GM Jerry Reese and co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, which Burress called “humbling.” They “had some laughs,” Burress said, and he saw the picture of his Super Bowl XLII-winning catch in the team facility.

“It was good ... to be able to have the opportunity to really sit down with them face-to-face for the first time and just tell them how much I appreciated them bringing me in and allowing my game to flourish and putting me in situations where I could have success,” Burress said.

Asked if he might have picked the Giants, had their financial offer been more enticing than the Jets, Burress reiterated wanting to start anew somewhere.

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Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said he’ll support Burress in any way he can, because he knows the game has extra meaning to him.

Former Giants teammate Justin Tuck said it will be “pretty weird” seeing Burress in a Jets uniform; even watching Jets highlights of Burress is weird to Tuck. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who called his former receiver a few weeks after Burress’ release from prison, said he’s looking forward to seeing him.

“He was a great teammate for the Giants,” Manning said. “We had a great run together. Things happen, and he’s with the Jets now and playing well.”

For more Jets coverage, follow Jenny Vrentas on Twitter at twitter.com/Jennyvrentas

Jenny Vrentas: jvrentas

Edited by visajets
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