Stuck in prison and his career derailed, Plaxico Burress insisted he’d be back in the NFL one day.
The Jets are giving him that second chance.
“I’m just grateful,’’ a confident yet humble Burress said last night. “I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m going to give them everything I’ve got because they put their trust in me to be able to come in and contribute and have an impact.’’
Burress signed a one-year deal with the Jets yesterday after recently being released from prison after serving 20 months on a gun charge. Burress, who turns 34 Aug. 12, caught the winning touchdown pass in the Giants’ upset of the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in 2008, before he accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub later that year.
“When something’s taken away from you that you love, you know you love it more,’’ he said. “You learn that playing in this business is definitely a privilege.’’
Burress will join the recently re-signed Santonio Holmes as one of Mark Sanchez’s top receivers.
“I’ve never played with a guy on the other side of me who was that explosive,’’ Burress said of Holmes. “It’s going to be fun. I think we’re going to drive some defensive coordinators crazy.’’
ESPN first reported the deal, saying it is for more than $3 million guaranteed. Burress was at the airport in Los Angeles on his way to a meeting with the 49ers, but canceled that trip when the Jets contacted him. He agreed to come back to New York, but in green and white this time, without even visiting with the Jets or speaking to coach Rex Ryan.
“There was no sales pitch needed,’’ he said. “You just look at all the pieces that are in place. You get a chance to compete for a world championship every year.’’
Burress had 505 catches for 7,845 yards and 55 TDs in nine seasons with the Steelers and Giants.
In another Jets move, Mark Brunell will be back as Sanchez’s backup after signing a one-year deal.
Seahawks cut Tatupu Lofa Tatupu was cut after the Seahawks’ defensive captain reportedly declined to restructure his contact. He leaves after anchoring the middle of Seattle’s defense for most of six seasons, including three Pro Bowl appearances and a major hand in taking the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance, following his rookie season in 2005. It certainly wasn’t a simple decision for Pete Carroll, who also coached Tatupu at Southern Cal. But the 28-year-old Tatupu has struggled with injuries the past few seasons and seen a decline in production . . . Olin Kreutz’s 13-year run in Chicago is over after the Bears agreed to a two-year contract with former Seahawks center Chris Spencer. A six-time Pro Bowl pick and team leader, Kreutz had backed off his request for a multiyear contract and was willing to take a one-year deal. Even so, the sides couldn’t reach an agreement . . . The 49ers expect running back Frank Gore to join the team today after a four-day holdout. A team spokesman said Gore has decided to practice while he attempts to negotiate a contract extension. Gore is scheduled to earn $2.9 million in base salary and $2 million in a roster bonus during the final season of his current deal . . . Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis is ending his five-day holdout with the Jaguars, without a long-term contract. The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Lewis, who signed a one-year tender offer worth nearly $7.3 million. But both sides want to work out a long-term deal and are continuing to negotiate.
Barnett fits with Bills Linebacker Nick Barnett didn’t last long in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bills. The deal came two days after Barnett was released by the Packers. The Bills were in need of an inside linebacker after Paul Posluszny signed with Jacksonville last week. Barnett has ended two of the last three seasons on injured reserve . . . All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach signed a three-year, $11 million deal with the Ravens. The Texans were hoping to re-sign the 6-foot, 255-pound Leach . . . Unrestricted free agent Cedric Benson is returning to Cincinnati. Benson, the Bengals’ leading rusher since 2008, agreed to a one-year deal . . . The Cardinals signed two-time All-Pro tight end Todd Heap to a two-year contract. It will be a homecoming for Heap, who grew up in Mesa and starred at Arizona State. Heap was released by Baltimore on Thursday after 10 seasons. He is the Ravens’ career leader in receiving touchdowns and is second in receptions and receiving yards . . . Wide receiver James Jones and running back John Kuhn both agreed to return to the Packers on three-year deals . . . Free safety Michael Huff will be back with the Raiders after signing an undisclosed contract. Oakland may be without wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Ford for the rest of the preseason after Ford broke his hand in practice Saturday . . . The Falcons agreed to terms with left guard Justin Blalock on a six-year contract. Blalock has started all 64 games that he’s played since Atlanta drafted him in the second round in 2007 . . . The Redskins acquired running back Tim Hightower from the Cardinals for defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday and an undisclosed draft pick. Washington also re-signed right tackle Jammal Brown to a five-year, $27 million contract . . . The Broncos signed running back Willis McGahee to an undisclosed contract . . . Former Patriots tight end Daniel Graham signed a multiyear deal with the Titans . . . First-round picks J.J. Watt (11th, Texans) and Christian Ponder (12th, Vikings) agreed to contracts.