Plax Shines Brightly

The Giants ensured their best receiver – and most explosive offensive player – will remain in blue for the next five seasons. After an offseason of negotiating, a mere three hours before the start of the 2008 season the Giants and Plaxico Burress agreed on a two-year contract extension that will keep Burress in New York through the 2012 season.

During the next five seasons, Burress will make $35 million ($7 million annually), with $11 million of the new money guaranteed.

"We had been working on it and it got done before the game," Burress said. "I just wanted to come in here and concentrate on the game, but we finally got it done. I just went out and did my job."

"We always remained hopeful that it would get done before the season started," general manager Jerry Reese said. "It came down to the last few minutes and we're happy to get it done so we can move forward in our season. Plax is happy to get the contract done as well. It took a little longer than we expected it to take, but Plax was professional about it the whole time. We're excited and happy that it's over and we're ready to move forward into this new season."

Burress paid immediate dividends, catching four passes for 68 yards in the first quarter alone. He said he wasn't going to let anything affect his on-field performance.

"I really stopped worrying about it after minicamp," Burress said. "I was saying to myself, if you don't get it done, I'm going to go out and keep performing."

And perform he did, catching 10 passes for 133 yards against the Redskins.

In 2007, Burress led the Giants with 70 receptions for 1,025 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns, despite being unable to practice virtually the entire season because of a sprained ankle. In the postseason, he added 18 catches (including a Giants-record 11 in the NFC Championship Game) for 221 yards and the game-winning 13-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XLII.

In his first three years with the Giants, Burress caught 209 passes for 3,227 yards and 29 touchdowns. Every one of those scores was thrown by Eli Manning, making them the most prolific quarterback-receiver touchdown tandem in the NFL last season.

Burress is starting his ninth NFL season. He spent five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Giants.

"Plax has been an outstanding player for us," Reese said. "We basically kind of approached each other about this contract. We felt like something should be done with the contract. We put our heads together and made it make sense for him and made it make sense for the New York Giants as well.

"He is a big-play threat for us on the field. Plax opens things up for other people and he obviously can make big plays himself. Eli has all of his weapons intact and we expect them to pick up where they left off last season."

Close call: Giants RDE Mathias Kiwanuka admitted he was a little scared when Redskins OT Chris Samuels fell on him from behind on the game's final play.

"It was the same foot, same area," Kiwi said. Kiwanuka, who tweaked his left ankle on the play, was lost for the season in mid-November last year with a broken left leg.

However, he said he was "good" after the game, adding "I'll be fine."

I got it: Sure the newest Giant was flagged 15 yards for roughing the kicker in the first quarter when he absolutely leveled Durant Brooks. But Jerome McDougle has a valid excuse: "I tipped the ball," he said emphatically.

McDougle said that he tried to state his case to the official, but then "I heard it from the coach."

You bet, once head coach Tom Coughlin intervenes, there'll be no more pleading.

McDougle said that after he barreled into Brooks he looked back and could tell that his contact with the ball didn't do anything to affect the pigskin's trajectory, which basically meant he was beat.

"At that point I knew I wasn't going to get (the call)," he smiled.

Just for kicks: John Carney's debut in blue was just what the doctor ordered. He drilled all three of his field-goal attempts – from 24, 25 and 47 yards out – and also handled his kickoffs with equal aplomb.

"He performed well," Coughlin said. "He kicked the ball off to I think it was the three-yard line, the three-yard line, and then the one-yard line. He made his field goals. He performed well. When called upon he did a good job and certainly his veteran experience was there for all of our players to rely on."

Despite kicking professionally for his 20th year, Carney admitted there were still nerves before the game.

"If I don't get jitters then something's wrong," the 44-year-old said.

Even after his first game with his new club, Carney was still thanking his lucky stars for the opportunity.

"I was hoping I'd be somewhere," Carney said. "I didn't think I'd be with the world champs."

Like he never left: While Brandon Jacobs was the game's rushing star with 116 yards, it sure was nice to see Derrick Ward back in action. Only nine months after fracturing his left fibula, Ward looked like he hadn't missed a beat. He gained 39 rushing yards and another 21 on two catches.

"I felt good," he said. "I felt like I was back out there riding a bike."

The real Kehl: So, were you surprised to see rookie Bryan Kehl taking serious snaps at WLB on opening night? If so, join the club. Kehl said he only found out right before the game that he'd be rotating series with starter Gerris Wilkinson.

"I thought I'd get some snaps, but I really didn't think I'd get that many," said Kehl, who posted five solo tackles. "I felt fine out there. It's the same game that I've been playing since I was eight years old."

Stat to note: The Giants held Redskins Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley to one seven-yard reception.

Speed demons: The game was played in two hours and 50 minutes, the shortest Giants game since a 14-10 victory over Houston on Nov. 5, 2006 was also completed in 2:50.

Showtime: The Giants pregame ceremony reached its crescendo when Michael Strahan emerged from a large inflated Vince Lombardi Trophy clutching the actual Lombardi Trophy. Several former Giants Super Bowl champions were on hand to join in the celebration, including Harry Carson, Mark Bavaro, Ottis Anderson and Rodney Hampton.

Turtle Talk: TGI was thrilled to bump into Entourage star Jerry Ferrara before the game. Of course, Turtle wasn't shy in sharing his opinions on how Big Blue is going to fare this season.

"I see a back-to-back repeat Super Bowl," Ferrara told TGI. "That easy. That simple. Cowboys are going to get bounced out in the second round. I see a rematch, Giants/Patriots, and the Giants win again."

Inactives: The Giants list of inactives for the season opener was as follows: K Lawrence Tynes (knee), RB Reuben Droughns, CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring), CB Sam Madison, LB Jonathan Goff (back), OT Adam Koets, DE Dave Tollefson and WR Mario Manningham.


The Giants Beat Top Stories