Plaxico Burress: Beginning a new chapter

New York Giants’ wide receiver Plaxico Burress had the world on a string. He had a flourishing football career that boasted more than 60 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

Drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he teamed up with another playmaker in Hines Ward to become the team’s first pair of 1,000 yard receivers.

Burress with coach/mentor Tony Dungy, NUL president Marc Morial, and Paul Helmke President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Then, in 2008, his life was altered dramatically.

Plaxico accidently shot himself in his leg in a New York City nightclub with a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol he was carrying in his waistband.

“It was a tragic accident and I played a tremendous price for a bad decision”.
He was sentenced to two years in a NY correctional facility for carrying an unlicensed fire arm in the city of New York.

On his incarceration, Burress said he “experienced something that nobody wants to experience”.

Burress speaking publicly today for the first time since his release last week, at the headquarters of the National Urban League in New York City where he unveiled what is being called a “new chapter” in the life the former NFL star.

“It’s a long time coming for me to get out and speak” Burress said, as he thanked attendees, his wife Tiffany, whom he referred to as his “rock”, and others for their support.

‘Others’ include former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy who Burress credited with helping him get through his time in prison.

“It means a lot to have a man like coach Tony Dungy to support me”, Burress said at the podium of the National Urban League’s New York headquarters. Burress called Dungy “a man of great integrity”, and “a man of great faith”. Burress said Dungy was "one of few people to come up and visit" him while I was in jail.

Dungy was also instrumental in the guidance and mentoring process for Pittsburg Steelers quarterback, Michael Vick, after his dog fighting charges.

On his new chapter, Plaxico is teaming with the National Urban League (NUL) where he will sever 30 hours of community service (as a condition of his release) working with NUL’s Youth Empowerment and afterschool programs to educate youth on gun violence.

Said NUL president Marc Morial, “We’re here to support Plaxico Burress”.

In turn, Burress will be supporting the NUL.

Said Morial on Burress working the NUL’s youth programs, “The National Urban League has hundreds of thousands of programs to touch the youth each and every day. This need not be about creating a new program for youth, but giving Plaxico and others who want to give back to the community a way to connect with the youth.

Burress, who claims he was ready to “serve a better purpose in life”, will assist youth in growing up to be role models and better people.

“I won't be able to save everybody”, Burress said . “But, but if I can help a child to think about carrying a firearm, or not carrying one out of the home, that saves lives in itself”.

Burress and Morial hope to get other professional athletes to join them in mentoring youth.

The redeemed NFL star said he was “eager and excited about the next steps” of his life, "whatever they might be". He said he was “dedicated and committed” to making a change for the better.

“I’m a champ on the field and my goal is to become a champ in life and off the field.“

In a commitment to community service and empowering youth, Plaxico Burress yesterday announced a partnership with the newly-launched National Urban League Celebrity Empowerment Challenge, committing his time and talent to volunteering with National Urban League youth programs that emphasize health, education and anti-violence, and pledging to recruit other professional athletes to do the same.

Additionally, Buress and Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, announced a partnership to combat gun violence and urge responsibility.

Along with Magic Johnson and former NFL Coach Tony Dungy, Morial pledged to help mentor Burress as he embarks on a path of service and volunteerism.

You can watch highlights of yesterday’s news conference and see a copy of the pledge at


Burress sits down with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: "Everyone is going to be in for a rude awakening". (Video)