|Giants suspend Super Bowl hero Burress|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 02 December 2008 14:59|
The New York Giants fined and suspended Burress on Tuesday for four games - the rest of the regular season - after he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh over the weekend at a Manhattan nightclub. The team also placed him on the reserve non-football injury list, which means the wide receiver couldn't come back for playoffs, either.
The team punished Burress a day after he was charged with illegal weapons possession, which carries a penalty of 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison if he's convicted. Burress is due back in court again on March 31, unless he reaches a plea agreement.
esday morning at Giants Stadium, and met individually with Giants president John Mara, general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin. He left for a medical test and returned in the afternoon for another brief session with team officials.
Even as they suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team, Giants officials expressed concern for Burress, who caught a touchdown pass from Eli Manning that gave the Giants a 17-14 Super Bowl win over New England in February.
``As we have said since Saturday morning, our concern is for Plaxico's health and well-being,'' Mara said. ``This is an important time for him to take care of his body and heal up and also deal with the very serious legal consequences and other issues in his life. When I spoke with Plaxico he expressed great remorse for letting down his teammates.''
Police and prosecutors still want to talk to a pair of Burress' teammates, Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw, who were at the club when the shooting occurred but insist they did nothing wrong.
Neither Burress nor his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was immediately available for comment.
Dr. Scott Rodeo, a team physician, examined Burress and told the Giants that the gunshot wound would have sidelined the 31-year-old player for 4-to-6 weeks anyway.
s that he understood the magnitude of this situation,'' Reese said Tuesday. ``He knows that we are here to support him and help him get healthy.''
This is the second time the Giants have suspended the troubled receiver this season. He missed the Oct. 2 game against Seattle for missing a team meeting. He also has been fined dozens of times since 2005 for violating team rules, and he was hit with a $45,000 fine by the league this season for abusing an official and throwing a ball into the stands during a game.
``Our concern all along has been for Plaxico the person, not Plaxico the player,'' team chairman Steve Tisch said. ``We are here to support him and his family as he recovers from his wound and deals with some serious issues.''
Burress is fourth on the team with 35 catches for 454 yards and four touchdowns. He has caught 244 passes for 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns since joining the team in 2005 as a free agent.
``When you lose a player of Plaxico's ability, it is incumbent that everybody step up and fill the void,'' said Coughlin, whose team is 11-1 and a win away from clinching the NFC East. ``In the last two seasons, this team has done an outstanding job of that. We made it clear to Plax today that we are here to support him in any way possible.''
ch game he misses. In Burress' case, that would mean roughly $206,000 per regular season game. He also was due to receive $1 million from his signing bonus on Dec. 10. It was not immediately clear whether the team still had to make the payment.
The player's latest woes began in the wee hours Saturday morning when he shot himself in the VIP section of a club called the Latin Quarter, where he went with two teammates.
Police want to know what Pierce did moments after the shooting and whether he took part in a cover-up. They also plan to interview the people at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who treated Burress and did not report the shooting, as required by law.
Pierce's lawyer said Tuesday he contacted prosecutors as soon as he was hired by the linebacker on Monday.
``After the events in question, Mr. Pierce did what any other reasonable person would do under the circumstances, he hired counsel,'' attorney Michael Bachner said. He said he hasn't been notified that Pierce will be charged.
``Mr. Pierce, given the extraordinary circumstances of that evening, acted responsibly in trying to save what could have been the life of a friend,'' Bachner said.
questioning, but he still hasn't.
Police said Tuesday that the Giants did send two trainers and an official who deals with player issues, who provided information about the shooting. That includes Charles Way, the team's director of player development, and trainer Ronnie Barnes. But police are still waiting to speak to more informed witnesses.
Pierce declined to answer questions about the shooting on his regular Tuesday afternoon spot on Sirius NFL Radio. ``It's not appropriate with the police being involved. ... I've got to be strong,'' he said.
Bradshaw's attorney, Charles Stacy, said his client wasn't suspected of any wrongdoing.
Both players said they were planning to speak with the district attorney's office in the near future.
Authorities are also upset that the hospital didn't report the shooting. Hospital officials said ``take this very seriously, and are conducting a thorough investigation into why this gunshot wound was not reported to the police department in a timely fashion.''
Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Robinson said Tuesday an individual has been suspended in connection with the case, but would not say if the person was a doctor or hospital staff member.
a.m. and treated him. The doctor's privileges to work out of the hospital have been suspended, according to the person. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out again Tuesday, saying he talked to Mara and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. He told them the law says ``you see something, you got to call the cops. That's the thing you should do.''
The Giants say they have been cooperating with authorities since they learned about the shooting.
Associated Press Writers Colleen Long and Verena Dobnik in New York, Beth DeFalco in Trenton, N.J., and AP Football Writer Dave Goldberg contributed to this report.