Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is the headache worth a good wide receiver?

One of two potential headache players could be headed to Chicago in the coming weeks.

The Bears, along with the Jets and Buccaneers, are reportedly the main teams interested in signing former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Burress, as you may recall, missed the last five games of the 2008 season after he shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub, leading to his eventually being released by the Giants on April 3. He now faces up to 3.5 years in prison on a weapons charge after the incident.

His stats are something to behold. While his 2008 season was basically a wash-out thanks to the gunshot, in 2007 he caught 70 passed for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns while helping lead the Giants to their upset Super Bowl win over the then-undefeated New England Patriots.

Right now, his attorney is trying to work out a deal that will at least keep Burress out of jail for the 2009 season, and possibly get the weapons charge reduced to the point where he only get probation. That includes Monday's news that the case was delayed until Sept. 23. There also is the possibility that Commissioner Roger Goodell could suspend Burress for all or part of the season for the incident.

If not Burress, then who does new QB Jay Cutler get to throw to? ESPN's Jeff Dickerson reports that while early reviews of the Bears' current receiving corp of Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Brandon Rideau and Johnny Knox have been good so far, they are at best unprovable and at worst not going to be good enough targets for Cutler.

One possibility could be former Jaguars' WR Matt Jones, who caught 65 passes for 761 yards last year. He was released by the Jaguars after he got busted for possession of cocaine, and likely will avoid suspension by the NFL higher-ups, according to the Chicago Sun-Times and ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Like I mentioned on Friday, Chicago is a town known for embracing controversial and potentially troubled athletes.

Dennis Rodman, for example, spent three years in Chicago with the Bulls, from the 1995-96 to 1997-98 seasons. He was, shall we say, colorful and controversial, doing everything from kicking a cameraman during a game to wearing a wedding dress to promote his autobiography in 1996.

However, he was a beast on the boards, averaging more than 15 rebounds a game as he played a big role in helping the Bulls win NBA titles all three years he was in town.

The Bears aren't looking for any choirboys, though it would be nice to hear what your wide receiver is up to on the practice field rather than the courtroom or commissioner's office.

Could Burress or Jones be the answer? Jones has the potential, mainly because he is healthy and not nearly as distracted as Burress, who with delays, likely will have the prospect of prison time hanging over his head for the season and potentially making him largely ineffective. That is also assuming he remains healthy and that the 2007 season was not a fluke.

Copyright 2009 - Wait Til Next Century

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