Rome, N.Y. Clad nearly all in black — hooded sweat shirt, athletic shorts, sneakers — and a white T-shirt, the tall, lanky man walked alone through a gate in a chain-link fence topped by swirls of barbed wire.
Plaxico Burress looked around for something familiar, and his agent Drew Rosenhaus ran up and jumped into his arms as both men smiled broadly.
Freedom at last for Burress, the former New York Giants receiver. He was released from prison around 9 a.m. Monday after spending nearly two years behind bars on a gun charge.
“I just want to thank God for bringing me through one of the most trying times in my life,” Burress said in a brief exchange with reporters outside Oneida Correctional Facility in central New York. “It’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day to be reunited with my family ... I’d like to thank all my fans all around the world for the thousands of letters, for their unwavering support. As far as football is concerned, if and when everything gets settled, when they get back on the field, I’ll be ready.”
Burress pleaded guilty in August 2009 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released three months early for good behavior.
Burress will be on parole for two years. He has to get and keep a job, undergo substance abuse testing, obey any curfew established by his Florida parole officer, support his family and undergo any anger counseling or other conditions required by his parole officer.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who served a 23-month federal sentence for running a dogfighting ring, has shown it’s possible to successfully return to the NFL. Vick said in a recent radio interview that Burress would be a great fit with the Eagles. Maybe that’s why Burress also was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat when he was freed.