Before he wrote his buzz column that included this interesting tidbit about Plaxico Burress wanting to join the Dolphins, colleague Barry Jackson called and asked if I knew whether the Dolphins would consider adding Burress as a way of improving their receiver corps.
I told Barry I had no idea because I haven't asked. Well, now I've asked and Burress, a South Florida resident, has two chances of playing for the 2009 Dolphins.
You guessed it: Slim. And none.
The Dolphins are not now and probably will not be interested later in Burress even if he clears the marathon course of legal hurdles he must navigate before getting back in the game. Yes, Burress is a supremely talented receiver who has had a productive career since being drafted eighth overall by the Steelers in 2000.
But come on, does one have to spell out the problems with Burress coming to Miami? There was a long pause and a, "Is this the reason you're calling me," response from one source when I asked about this possibility Tuesday.
Here are the positives and negatives on the issue as the Dolphins see it:
The positives: There are no positives.
The negatives: Let's start with the easy stuff. Burress is going to be 32 years old in August and exempting everything else, he is in decline. His yards per reception average has dropped since hitting a career high of 19.9 in 2004. It was 16.0 in 2005, 15.7 in 2006, 14.6 in 2007, and 13.0 in 2008. And that's the least of his problems.
He has proven to be injury-prone the past couple of years and rarely, if ever, practiced during the 2007 season even as the Giants were rushing headlong toward a Super Bowl title. As you know, practice is kinda sorta important to Tony Sparano -- just behind breathing.
Then there are the sideshow issues that Burress tows in his wake. The biggest problem he faces is the looming legal issue stemming from his accidental shooting on November 28, 2008. Burress, in his infinite wisdom, carried a Glock pistol in the waistband of his sweatpants into the LQ nightclub in New Yawk. The gun began sliding down his leg and, as he apparently fumbled for it, Burress shot himself in the leg F-Troop style.
(Give me a second to stop laughing after typing that last sentence.)
Aside from the pain and embarrassment the shooting might have caused Burress, the bigger problem is the ensuing charge of unlawful carrying of a handgun authorities slapped on Burress. The charge carries a 3 1/2 year sentence if Burress is convicted. Burress has pleaded not guilty to the charges but as Mike Florio astutely notes in today's rumor mill at profootballtalk.com, the issue is not just going to poof, disappear, before the start of the 2009 season. And so even if Burress eventually gets off, his chances of contributing to a new team at the start of the season seem remote.
Oh, and there are a myriad other reasons Burress is not on Miami's radar.
Even if you dismiss the shooting because, hey, stuff like that doesn't bother you, there is the March 1, 2009 traffic stop in which Burress was ticketed four times for various things and must still resolve in Broward County court. There is the domestic violence calls in August and September of 2008 that resulted in temporary restraining orders against Burress that were later dismissed by the state.
And then there are the football problems.
Remember that Burress played for Tom Coughlin, a Bill Parcells disciple and friend. Parcells can pick up the phone and ask Coughlin about Burress and get unambiguous answers. And some of those answers would likely come after questions about Burress being chronically late to team meetings, Burress refusing to practice because of an ankle injury the team didn't believe he had, Burress pouting about his contract, and Burress being suspended by the team on Oct 5, 2008 for violating an unspecified team rule.
The Steelers also suspended Burress in 2004 for for failing to show up for a practice. Burress has been fined by the Steelers, Giants and the NFL at various times during his career and estimates on those cumulative fines range from $50,000 to over $200,000.
So the picture is bleak for Burress if he continues to hold out hope for a chance with the Dolphins.
Because it is not happening.