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Plaxico Burress's Future Still In Air

Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Giants pushes off the tackle of Andre Dyson (21) of the New York Jets on his way to a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Giants Stadium on October 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Burress had five catches for 124 yards in the Giants 35-24 win.
Getty Images/Nick Laham
The weapons possession case against former New York Giants player Plaxico Burress has been adjourned until September, and his attorney said he didn't see any reason the wide receiver couldn't play this fall.

Burress made a brief appearance in court Monday, accompanied by his wife and attorney Benjamin Brafman. Judge Felicia Mennin adjourned the case until Sept. 23.

Burress shot himself in the thigh Nov. 29 in a Manhattan nightclub. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and faces up to 3½ years in prison. Burress has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail.

Burress caught the game-winning touchdown for the Giants in the 2008 Super Bowl. He is a free agent after the team released him April 3.

Outside court Monday, Brafman said several teams were trying to sign his client, and "physically he's in the best shape of his life. He's ready to play."

But he also said he didn't think the case would be resolved through a plea agreement, that prosecutors would take it to a grand jury, and that Burress would plead not guilty if the case went to trial.

"There is not a victim in this case except Plaxico Burress," he said.

While Burress is free to sign with any team, the unresolved legal matter could make teams reluctant to add the talented player. In addition, even if he ultimately does not serve any time in jail on the weapons charge - most first-time offenders in similar cases in New York City do not - he could face disciplinary action by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league's personal conduct policy.

But veteran 6-foot-5 receivers with a proven ability to stretch a defense are a valuable commodity in the NFL. The New York Jets acknowledged publicly they had contacted Burress' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to inquire about him before the NFL draft in April.

With the criminal case dragging on at least three more months and possibly longer, establishing Burress' value may be a challenge for interested teams.

The Giants had signed Burress to a five-year, $35 million contract extension in September. The team later withheld $1 million after the shooting and the NFL Players Association filed a grievance on Burress' behalf. A special master ruled that the Giants had to pay Burress because the money was a signing bonus he earned upon agreeing to the contract extension and could not be withheld for future conduct.

Burress has 505 career receptions for 7,845 yards and 55 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.