We'll go in order of most understandable to most regrettable. First, here's Plaxico on former teammate Eli Manning.
"I was always his biggest supporter, even days he wasn't on, 'cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said. "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."
Obviously, I don't know the details of the personal relationship between Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress, but most people can relate to the feeling of being snubbed by someone you thought was a friend. That hurts.
Just for the record, here's what Eli had to say about not visiting Plaxico.
"I thought about it a few times," Manning said. "It just never worked out. Just one of those deals. As soon as he got out, called him a few weeks after and just talked to him for a little bit. It sounded like he learned a lot and it changed his life."
"It just never worked out" is a lame excuse, but that last part, about Plax learning a lot and changing his life? Well, we'll come back to that.
Here's Plax on Tom Coughlin:
"After my situation happened, I turned on the TV, and the first words out his mouth was 'sad and disappointing.' I'm like, forget support — how about some concern? I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, 'I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."
All right, fine. You did have a bullet in your leg. Your health should be the first concern. But you did walk yourself into the man's office. It's not like he visited you in the ICU. No one was re-enacting "Brian's Song" here.
And I'll grant that you do make too much money to be treated like a child, if you'll grant that you make too much money to act like a child. Come on, Plax -- you have to admit that you did something dumb here, right? You want some concern to be showed, I get it. Some concern should have been showed.
But I also don't feel like "I'm glad you didn't kill anyone" was inappropriate, either. You did just carry a loaded gun, safety off, secured only by the elastic of sweatpants, into a crowded nightclub. You did that.
And finally, Plaxico shared this thought on fans out there who were glad to see him go away.
"What are you doing now?" Burress said. "You still mad at your job? You still angry about your life? 'Cause I'm back living my life and enjoying my family while you're still doing the same thing."
That's tremendous. He gets out of prison, and his reaction is basically, "I'M OUT NOW, U MAD BRO?" Obviously, he's been humbled. I say this as someone who was on his side before he went away. Fully acknowledging, of course, that he did something dumb and dangerous, but I felt like the punishment was too much for the crime.
At the moment, the full article isn't available on the Men's Journal site, so maybe there are some things in there that paint Plax in more of a redeeming light. We'll see. Right now, though, he seems like a guy who still isn't taking much responsibility for what he did.
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- Plaxico Burress
- Eli Manning
- Tom Coughlin