Plaxico Burress dined twice with the Steelers at Saint Vincent College today and while he did not talk to the press, it appears it may come down to an AFC championship game matchup for his services: the Steelers vs. the New York Jets.
The Jets, who previously had not been reported to have interest in Burress, now do. And they have the room under the salary cap to make a big pitch. Burress reportedly enjoyed playing in New York, even though he spent two years in jail there on a gun charge before his release the past June. But the Steelers have veterans who have remained friends with Burress throughout the years, and his wife, Tiffany, is a Pittsburgh native.
"We know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from our organization,'' said Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations.
Burress had lunch with several former Steelers teammates, including quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, wide receiver Hines Ward and linebacker James Farrior, and many of them were pitching the receiver to rejoin them. This after an early breakfast in the same school cafeteria with coach Mike Tomlin, Colbert and team president Art Rooney.
Leftwich had been working out with Burress with other NFL players in Miami. The two have been friends for years and Leftwich said he could not tell that the 6-foot-5 receiver had been away from the game the past two years, that he looked just as able as he did before he went to jail.
The Steelers say they are interested in signing Burress, but they are scrambling to get under the salary cap even before they see what it might take to sign him.
Burress met with his former coach with the New York Giants Friday night but sources here say he will not re-sign with them. Burress told some Steelers that the Jets are interested him and the San Francisco 49ers also want him to pay them a visit.
"Obviously, he's interested, Drew [Rosenhaus] his agent is interested and we're interested, so where it goes we'll find out,'' Colb ert said.
Burress, the Steelers' No. 1 draft pick in 2000, played for them through 2004 and signed as a free agent with the Giants in 2005.
Roethlisberger, who played with Burress one season in 2004, said on Friday he has been talking to his former teammate for two months, trying to convince him to join the Steelers. "You can always add a weapon,'' Roethlisberger said. "If we bring a tall guy in as a veteran guy, he can help the young guys. That's good."
Colbert called Burress' visit a "positive.''
"He looks great from a physical standpoint,'' Colbert said, adding that they will not work him out because the only true test for him will be when he resumes practicing.
Veteran tight end Daniel Graham also visited with the Steelers on the Saint Vincent campus today. Graham, 32, played with the Patriots and most recently the Broncos. He's a good, blocking tight end who also can catch. The Steelers are looking to possibly sign him to replace backup tight end Matt Spaeth, who signed with the Chicago Bears this week.