If Rotator Cuff Surgery End It for Plaxico Burress, He Went Out the Right Way

Monday August 12 was Plaxico’ Burress’ 36 birthday. Per Ed Bouchette’s tweet, it’s also the day that he underwent what will likely be career ending surgery to reaper a torn rotator cuff.

Steelers WR Plaxico Burress will celebrate his 36th birthday today by getting shoulder surgery. Ugh.
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 12, 2013

If this is the end for Plaxico Burress then it is a real shame for him. It may not be much consolation to him, but Burress can at least know that he chose to distinguish himself on the way out.

Remembering Plex

If Plaxico Burress is glad to finish his career in Pittsburgh then he can thank the fact that Kevin Colbert does not draft scared for his arrival.

Colbert arrived in Pittsburgh in February 2000 on the heels of back-to-back 7-9 and 6-10 seasons that brought a long simmering feud between Tom Donahoe and Bill Cowher to a head. Kordell Stewart was the Steelers quarterback, and Stewart was finishing the “My Buddy’s the Cop” phase of his career.

  • Conventional wisdom generally dictates drafting the best available quarterback is the smart (and safe) move for a general manager walking into that situation.

The Steelers had the eighth pick, and Chad Pennington was the top quarterback on the board. Colbert and Cowher took a pass, making Pennington the 2nd most famous signal caller the Steelers never drafted after Dan Marino.

Plaxico Burress was their choice instead. After a rookie season that was a wash, Burress had his breakout game vs. the Titans on Monday Night Football (after Hines Ward instilled some good game preparation habits into him), helped transform Tommy Maddox into Tommy Gun and gave the Steelers 4 good seasons before departing to New York, much to Ben Roethlisberger‘s chagrin.

Burress’ time in New York will be remembered for him quitting on a long route, a game winning Super Bowl catch, and of course the self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Burress to Go Out the Way They All “Should?”

After prison the Steelers and, more specifically Mike Tomlin, briefly courted Burress, but he opted for greener pastures with the New York Jets.

Out of football for much of 2012, the Steelers brought him in late in the season. A poor route led to an interception, spoiling his debut in the comedy of errors in Cleveland.

His stat sheet will only tell this his second stint in Pittsburgh yielded 3 catches. The video quality isn’t so good, but here’s the last one he made:

That touchdown helped seal victory for the Steelers in the 2012 regular season finale vs. Cleveland.

If rotator cuff surgery does spell the end for Burress, his homecoming in Pittsburgh might not have gone as he wished, but Burress’ final catch will always be a game winning touchdown.

Isn’t that the way every player dreams of ending his career?

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