Let’s rewind to the 2000 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had selected a big, tall wide receiver out of Michigan State, Plaxico Burress. Burress spent five years with the Steelers, leaving after the 2004 AFC Championship game amidst a trail of tears, according to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
The red zone target would go on to catch the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl, put a halt to a bid for a perfect season, and then ultimately find himself behind bars.
Fast forward to the present day and that same man who caught 22 touchdowns for the Steelers is a free agent, looking to re-start his career in much the same way that Philadelphia’s Michael Vick has. And as with all former highlight reel-esque players, the media is constantly rumoring him to this team or that.
Think of the surprise upon Steelers’ fans faces when they learned that their team was one of the rumored destinations. The man that had spiked a live ball and accused the Rooney family of being racist, could be returning to the field after all of this?
Well, no. And here’s why this rumor is based solely on the fact that there’s literally nothing else to talk about during the NFL lockout.
The Steelers already have a great young group of wide receivers, especially with Mike Wallace emerging as a true deep threat and Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown stepping up big in their rookie seasons. Add to that the ever reliable Hines Ward, who still has plenty of gas left in his tank, and the back end of the depth chart which still includes Antwaan Randle El, and Limas Sweed. There’s simply no room for Burress on the Steelers depth chart, and even if there was, the team isn’t going to sacrifice the development of Sanders and Brown to get Burress more career stats.
The team is looking to the future, not the past.
Couple that with the fact that the Steelers traded away another receiver who caught the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, Santonio Holmes, for nothing more than a four game suspension and his fondness for ‘waking and baking’ and the math doesn’t add up. The Steelers are trying to get the bad taste from last off-season out of their mouth, and that doesn’t come with a shot of Burress (pun unintentional, but not bad).
All in all, I’m not sure why the lockout has gotten the Steelers thrust into the Burress rumor, but it won’t happen. His time in Pittsburgh has past, and nothing is going to change that.
On a side note, a lot of former Steelers players have realized that the grass isn’t always greener where the money is more plentiful and now want to return home. Any prop bets on who the next former Steeler to be rumored to the team is?