Plax Back?

Word that the Giants are seriously considering bringing back the recently unincarcerated WR Plaxico Burress comes as somewhat of a shock. But should it?

So on top of all this free agent craziness comes word that Plaxico Burress and Tom Coughlin are due for a serious heart-to-heart Friday.

And guess what? Coaches and ex-player don't have those kinds of discussions, whether they're across from each other at the dinner table or the coach's desk, unless there is serious interest in bringing that ex-player back. Note that Tiki Barber isn't due in for a Coughlin visit anytime soon.

It does seem odd that Coughlin would even consent to meeting Burress, seeing that he had such strong feelings about the recipient of the Giants' 2007 Super Bowl-winning touchdown catch after he blew a hole in his leg with an illegal Glock. But time, and a little prodding from people in high places, tend to change things.

According to ESPN, one of co-owner Steve Tisch's rich and powerful friends, Seth Bernstein, is trying to broker a peace between receiver and coach. And if he succeeds, Burress could come back to the Giants for a reported two-year, $10.6 million, incentive-laden contract. If the Giants do re-sign him, about the only certain thing he'll bring is a public relations nightmare.

All the rest is up in the air. At 34, nobody can truly know how well he'll come back from two years in stir. Thirty-four is old for any receiver, let alone one who has missed the last two seasons.

Then, there is his personality quirk. Burress isn't a bad guy, you see. Actually, he's one of the deeper athletes out there -- intelligent, well-spoken. He reads self-help books. But he's got this flaw where authority figures mean nothing to him. He goes his own way, and team rules be damned. It's small wonder that his casual approach to meeting and practice schedules caused him to incur the highest fine total on the team.

He drove Coughlin mad. And now, Coughlin must decide if he can live with the guy again. The idealists will say "Sure he can. Jail changed Burress like jail changed Michael Vick." But let's face it, most people don't change. Not significantly. Plax may never carry a gun again, but that doesn't mean he's going to bend to every little team rule like everyone else, either.

The up side is that, if Burress is indeed a changed man who can play, the Giants would be well-advised to take that chance. They'll certainly re-sign Steve Smith, but he's coming off major left knee surgery. Who knows what he's going to look like. They could use a veteran pass-catcher, and a legitimate Red Zone go-to guy to take the heat off big-play receiver Hakeem Nicks and the developing Mario Manningham.

Friday's meeting -- it may or may not be a dinner date, but is that really important? -- will go a long way in determining whether Burress is a viable option for Coughlin, or whether he'd be better off visiting Pittsburgh and hoping for a soft landing there.

The bet here is that he winds up back with his original team, the Steelers. But at this point, anything can happen.

After all, who seriously expected this Burress/Coughlin summitt to happen in the first place?

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