Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tony Dungy and Justin Tuck Think Giants Would Be Good Fit For Plaxico

It looks like Plaxico Burress' two former teams, the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, are the front runners for the talented wideout's services this season.  Former Colts head coach, Tony Dungy,  said New York would be a " great home" for Burress' new start.

The New York Daily News reported that Dungy believes, if Burress and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin can put aside their past differences, New York would be the ideal fit for the 33 year-old Burress second go-round in the NFL.

Dungy, acting as Burress' mentor, said his charge needs a "good support system" to get back on track and the troubled wideout already has built a strong foundation with the team owners, Steve Tisch and John Mara.

"I think Mr. Tisch, Mr. Mara, he has a good relationship with them," said Dungy.  And he has a great, great relationship with a lot of the other players that are still there."

Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck agrees. He believes the two men can hammer out their differences.

"Anytime you have a dispute between two people, both people need to talk it out like men," said Tuck.  I think that's what we have on schedule, so we'll see what happens."

It looks like Burress' affection for Rex Ryan and the Jets has faded and now Burress is set to meet with the Giants tomorrow night before heading to Pittsburgh for a meeting with Mike Tomlin and the Steelers.

"I think [the Giants] would be a great kind of family organization for him," said Dungy.

The Giants have already reached out to Burress, even after he was let go by the team for his 2008 arrest for gun possession, subsequent conviction and stint in prison.

Mara drove up to the upstate New York correctional center to pay Burress a visit behind bars and quarterback Eli Manning was one of the first players to welcome his former-favorite target back after his release this spring.

Manning must be drooling at the prospect of throwing to Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and possibly Burress.  Can you say Air Eli?

Now Burress has to bury the hatchet with his former coach and antagonist, the disciplinarian Coughlin.

I can only imagine how Friday's night meeting will go.  It's hard to imagine how Burress, just released from almost two years in stir, is going to thrive under the strict Coughlin.  It's like going from life under one prison warden to a head coach who is sometimes called one.

Forget the steak and potatoes, the real main dish on Friday night's dinner table is the thousands of dollars in fines, benching and two-week suspension for a rules violation handed down to Plax by Coughlin in the past.

Can Burress abide by Coughlin's tough love rules and avoid the suspensions and fines he accrued in the past?  Until last week, there was a perception that Coughlin didn't even want Burress back, now they are breaking bread together.

The "mellower" Coughlin just signed a one year extension to his contract and the Giants are notorious for not releasing a coach during the final year of a deal so, if this relationship gets stormy again, the old man isn't going anywhere.

The post NFL lockout has left teams scrambling for stability.  The Giants are familiar with Burress and Burress still has a veteran's knowledge of the Giants playbook. 

To Dungy, familiarity will be important to Burress' comeback.

"People need to understand that it is a little bit different," said Dungy.  "It's not just kind of like a free-agent coming into your team.  He has to regrow and redevelop.  You just want that support there, and I think the Giants would be one of the good teams for that."

Whether or not the Giants become Burress' halfway house to resuming a life on the outside remains to be seen.  Maybe the Giants just want to keep Burress' slim chance of hooking up with another "second-chancer," Michael Vick and division rival the Philadelphia Eagles at bay?

It won't be easy for Burress in New York.  You'll probably see more photos of Burress on the street than on the field and night out at a restaurant will be in every gossip page in New York.  Even if people don't hit the floor every time he reaches into his sweatpants pockets, every paparazzi will hit their camera shutter release.

How those scenarios fit into Dungy's theory is speculative at best.  Maybe New York isn't he best place to quietly return to society. 

The Giants team leaders don't think so and have given Burress a vote of confidence.  Manning confirmed speaking with Burress about coming back.

"I don't know what's going to happen with that," said Manning.  "I know he and coach Coughlin might meet sometime.  We'll just see what happens after that."

Tuck says Burress would be welcomed back by everyone.

"I can't speak for Coughlin or Plax," said the defensive end.  "It's well documented they've bumped heads in the past.  Hopefully a little time apart has rekindled the love they share for each other."

Wow.  The words 'Coughlin, Plax and rekindled love' in a quote.  I'm going to tear up.

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