Receiver Plaxico Burress makes jump from jail to Jets

August 1, 2011


— Stuck in prison and his NFL career derailed, Plaxico Burress insisted he’d be back one day.

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets are giving him that second chance.

“I’m just grateful,” a confident yet humble Burress said Sunday night. “I’m excited about the opportunity, and I’m going to give them everything I’ve got because they put their trust in me to be able to come in and contribute and have an impact.”

The former Super Bowl star with the Giants signed a one-year deal with the Jets on Sunday after recently being released from prison after serving 20 months on a gun charge. Burress, who turns 34 on Aug. 12, caught the game-winning touchdown in the Giants’ upset of the unbeaten New England Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, before his career derailed after he accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub later that year.

“When something’s taken away from you that you love, you know you love it more,” he said. “You learn that playing in this business is definitely a privilege. I definitely miss being away from the game and the guys and being able to compete every Sunday with the best athletes in the world.”

Now, the Jets are hoping Burress can revive his career the way Michael Vick did with the Eagles.

Vick served 18 months in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring before returning to football in 2009. He was eased back into things by the Eagles before taking over as the starting quarterback last year and capping a terrific season by being selected as the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year.


Chiefs sign DE Gilberry

St. Joseph, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have signed defensive end Wallace Gilberry to his restricted free agent tender.

The 6-foot-2, 268-pound Gilberry was a pleasant surprise during last year’s 10-6 run that led to the AFC West title.

In three seasons, he has played in 37 regular-season games and had 34 solo tackles with 111⁄2 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. He came into the NFL in 2008 as a rookie free agent with the New York Giants.


Braves get Bourn from Houston

Michael Bourn went from the bottom of the NL Central in Houston to the top of the wild-card standings with Atlanta — and he wasn’t the only player who suddenly found himself in a pennant race.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Erik Bedard, Rafael Furcal and Mike Adams were also on the move at the end of a topsy-turvy weekend, when the surprising Indians, Pirates and Diamondbacks made some of the boldest moves at baseball’s trade deadline, shedding those longtime seller tags and shopping for immediate help.

All in all, it was a relatively quiet deadline day as the non-waiver cutoff came and went Sunday. The biggest deals came days earlier when All-Star outfielders Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence changed teams.

Among the big names staying put after weeks of speculation: Padres closer Heath Bell, Tampa Bay outfielder B.J. Upton and Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

And standing pat — unusually — were the New York Yankees, content to try to catch Boston in the AL East with a rotation that has reclamation projects Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia at the back end.

Just 21⁄2 games back of Detroit in the AL Central, the Indians completed their Saturday night deal with Colorado for Jimenez about a half-hour before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline. Until then, they were waiting for results of the pitcher’s physical.

Division-rival Detroit made a move, too, getting right-hander Doug Fister from Seattle on Saturday and will add him to the rotation. The Tigers also received reliever David Pauley for two prospects and a player to be named.

After a record 18 straight losing seasons, the Pirates are in the thick of it in the NL Central race, and they showed they’re serious in dealing for San Diego outfielder Ryan Ludwick — a day after acquiring Baltimore first baseman Derrek Lee.

The Diamondbacks bolstered their bullpen, adding Oakland submariner Brad Ziegler as they chase the World Series champion Giants in the NL West. On Saturday, Arizona obtained Jason Marquis from the Nationals.

In other deals Sunday:

• The AL East-leading Red Sox picked up Bedard after a deal for Rich Harden fell through late Saturday. Six prospects were involved in a three-team, seven-player trade involving the Los Angeles Dodgers.

• The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Furcal, a two-time All-Star shortstop, from the Dodgers for Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos.

• Texas further bolstered its bullpen a day after adding Baltimore right-hander Koji Uehara by dealing for Adams, San Diego’s stellar setup man.

• Atlanta made a move to keep up with the NL East-leading Phillies, getting Bourn from the Astros, who also sent Pence to Philadelphia on Friday night.

The Astros received outfielder Jordan Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, but the Braves didn’t give up any of their top prospects.

Auto racing

Menard pulls upset at Brickyard

Indianapolis — Paul Menard became NASCAR’s newest first-time winner Sunday with an upset victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a track steeped in tradition for his family.

The first half of the race was dominated by drivers with the strongest cars. But when debris cautions jumbled up the pit cycles, the Brickyard 400 turned into a race of pure strategy.

Menard and his Richard Childress Racing team played it brilliantly, as crew chief Slugger Labbe had Menard give the lead up to defending race winner Jamie McMurray in an effort to save fuel. Certain McMurray didn’t have enough gas to make it to the finish, Labbe then turned his attention to Jeff Gordon, who fell 12 seconds behind after a late fuel stop but was slicing his way through the field.

Labbe gave Menard the green light with just over three laps to go. He passed McMurray for the lead and was silent as he circled the track with Labbe giving constant updates on Gordon’s lap times. Gordon ran out of time, and Menard cruised to his first career victory in his 167th career start.


Tseng wins Women’s British

Carnoustie, Scotland — Judging by the record books, Yani Tseng is 10 years ahead of Annika Sorenstam.

The 22-year-old Taiwanese won the Women’s British Open for the second straight year Sunday, beating Brittany Lang by four strokes and becoming the youngest player — male or female — to capture a fifth major title.

Sorenstam was 32 when she won the 2003 LPGA Championship for her fifth major. Tiger Woods was 24 when he won his fifth at the 2000 PGA Championship.

Browne claims U.S. Senior Open

Toledo, Ohio — After a stoic week, Olin Browne finally let loose.

Browne showed little emotion until rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to clinch a three-shot victory over Mark O’Meara in the U.S. Senior Open.

After Browne’s last putt dropped and a large gallery around the final green at Inverness Club roared its approval as he raised his arms in triumph. It was the biggest victory of the journeyman’s 27 years as a professional.

Woods to play at Australian Open

Sydney — Tiger Woods will play in the Australian Open a week before the Presidents Cup in his first appearance in Sydney since his first year as a pro.

Golf Australia chief Stephen Pitt announced today that Woods would join the field for the Nov. 10-13 tournament that already includes Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy and Presidents Cup captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples.


Serena wins first in comeback

Stanford, Calif. — Serena Williams has captured her first tournament title since returning to tennis, beating Marion Bartoli, 7-5, 6-1, to win the Bank of the West Classic on Sunday.

The 13-time major champion overcame two breaks in the first set to rally for a dominating finish. She went ahead 5-0 in the second and never relented.


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