Plax is Back

Plaxico Burress returned to Giants Stadium on Monday, his one-game suspension officially over. With no media access on Monday, the Giants PR staff put Plaxico on a conference call with the New York writers. Here's what he had to say:

How does it feel to be back?
It is good, man. It feels good.

What have been your emotions from the time that they told you of the decision, to going through the two-week absence, to going through the appeal, to watching your team win big, and now to come back?
My emotions were they suspended me and that was the decision that they chose to do and I took it at that. I didn't lose any sleep over it. It gave me some rest and I was able to get away for a little while and chill out and relax. Things like that happen and I put it behind me and keep on moving forward and get back to doing what I do -- catching footballs and scoring touchdowns -- and get back to work.

Can you shed any light as to what happened two Mondays ago when you didn't show up for work?
I ran into some family20issues as far as taking my son to school and things like that. It was not like I purposely missed out or that was my intention. It just seemed to happen that way and I didn't feel any reason to explain to them what happened or why I missed because I don't feel it is really anybody's business. It is like I told them, if I had a decision to make as far as my family and my son and things like that, I wouldn't change anything about it and I would still make the same decision to do that. Maybe I would have put a phone call in, but that probably would have been the only thing. As far as things like that, I am going to always put those things first and I think that is one thing that people have to understand, but I don't have any regrets for it.

Do you have any hard feelings and do you think the coaching staff has any hard feelings because of this?
Why would there be any hard feelings? It was a decision that they chose to make and I was fine with it. They feel that they needed to do that so I took it with a grain of salt and kept on moving.

Didn't you feel a responsibility to let your employer know why you wouldn't be showing up for work?
It is like I said, maybe I could have put a phone call in, but the fact of the matter is that they told you guys that I didn't speak to them, which is not true. They called my house Monday night, they talked to my wife, I talked to them on the phone, I talked to Jerry Reese on Tuesday, so if I didn't talk to them then how did I know that I had to meet with them on Wednesday? So them talking about how I didn't talk to them at all that is not true and they know that. I guess that sheds a little bit more light on the situation, but the idea that I didn't talk to them at all, that is not true at all.

They were referring to the period of time that you were supposed to be at the stadium and they had not heard from you?
Right, yeah, they didn't. During the hours of which I was supposed to be there, no, they did not hear from me.

Was taking your son to school a family emergency?
Yes, it was. I felt it was and the situation that I had to deal with that morning as far as my son… I made the right decision and I don't have any regrets about the decision that I made at all. All of that got blown out of proportion, which is fine with me, I have dealt with bigger things in my life, so just what I told them I will tell you guys: if I had to make the decision again, I would do the same. I would probably put in a phone call and deal with it that way, but as far as me feeling sorry for myself or getting down on myself, I don't worry about that. My job is to show up to work, which I didn't do that day, go out on the football field on Sundays and catch footballs, and that is what I do. That is what my job asks me to do.

How did your talk with Coach Coughlin go today and do you feel it was productive as far as you being on the same page?
As far as the same page, I know what he expects. As far as being on the same page, we hit and miss sometimes and things like that. We had a conversation today and we talked and I listened and didn't really have too much to say and we just move on from there and we just go on to Monday night.

There have been reports that you have been fined 40-50 times during your time with the Giants. How accurate would you say that is?
I really don't know the amount of times, but I do know that I have been fined quite a bit and some things and some of the demands that they ask me to do, I just don't meet. Do I have an excuse for them? =2 0No. Maybe I have a problem with time or something, I don't know. I haven't been able to quite put my finger on it, but yeah, I have been fined quite a few times. It hasn't really bothered me or affected me though. Like I said when I step on the field it is time to play and that is what I do. If I don't do things the right way as far as getting there on time or treatments so to speak, I deal with it and get over it and concentrate on my job.

Do you agree with what they did and what would you have done if you were in their position?
I can't say what I would have done, but as I said, they made the decision for the best of the team and I have a lot of respect for that. They made the decision to suspend me for a week, which I was cool with. We all agreed to it and I have moved on. What was I supposed to do? Cry? I don't know what type of emotions or answers you guys are looking for. They told me I was suspended and I was like, ‘Okay.' I didn't argue with them. I just took it, walked out, and left.

Did you get a chance to watch the game yesterday and what were you thinking while you watched?
I watched a little bit of it. I caught the first half. Dom(enik Hixon), I think before he got hurt, he had like 100 yards or something. They were really clicking out there. Brandon (Jacobs) ran the ball really well from what I saw and Eli (Manning) was very efficient and it was good to see the guys go out and play well. I will always say to the guys that regardless of which… we can all celebrate each other's success and I think that is what separates us from a lot of the teams around the league. We really don't care who goes out and catches the balls and scores and things like that. We want to see everybody do well and because of me not being able to play yesterday, a lot of guys got to get in and get some action, which is going to make us a better football team down the road.

Are you worried that when something like this happens it is not indicative of a team leader and that maybe you are setting the wrong example for guys?
I am really not concerned about being a team leader and I am really not concerned about the way my teammates look at me as far as me making the decisions based on my family. I am not immune to any situation that goes on in life. I think that people put this football thing like it is a… my family is my first priority and like I said, it doesn't matter how people look at me when it comes to football. I am making decisions based on my life and what is going on in my life as far as my family; I am always going to do that first. I think that is what people need to understand. Football is the best temporary job I am ever going to have in my life and my family is going to be here forever. That is where I stand with it. I told them that and I will tell you guys that. I haven't lost any sleep over the situation; I feel I have made the right decision. I am still living, I am still walking around, so I am fine. I am looking forward to playing Cleveland next week on Monday night and everybody knows I am going to be playing on Monday night.

When someone doesn't show up for work one day and doesn't call in until that night, in almost every situation the employer would either fire the person, suspend them, or the person would be in tremendous trouble. Getting out of football just and looking at that, can you look at it as an employee and as an employer?
I think I did get in tremendous trouble. I got suspended for two weeks and lost a game check. How much more tremendous trouble can you be in with an employer?

But on the other hand, you said you feel that you made the right decision?
Right. That is me basing myself off of what needed to be done at that time and like I said, I don't have any regrets for that at all. I don't understand why it is so hard for everybody to understand that. I haven't lost any sleep, I am in great spirits, I enjoyed my week off, my team went out and played great yesterday without me, it was good to see the guys go out there and play well, I mean I am fine. I am doing just fine over here.

Do you think you let your team down by not being out there on the field with them?
I definitely did. I definitely let them down. When I can't go out there with them I am definitely letting them down. I went out there and limped around and played hurt and didn't want to miss a game, so why would I not want to be out there? I was out there even when I wasn't supposed to, so of course I let them down.

Most people wouldn't look at taking their child to school as an emergency situation. Why in your case had it evolved into a situation where having to take your son to school meant you couldn't go to work?
See, those are the things that you guys don't know so you can't really say=2 0it wasn't an emergency based on my part because you really don't know everything that was going on or went on or happened. See, that is where everybody on the outside gets it misconstrued because they really don't know what happened or what is going on so they make this judgment, ‘Oh, that is not important.' When is not my family important? That is what I don't get. When is not my family important to me?

So you are saying there are some complicating factors more than just taking your son to school? It is just a little confusing.
Right. It can be confusing to you guys all it wants to be, but my job is not to explain to you guys what goes on or what happens. That is not my job. My job is and my responsibility is to take care of my family first. Just like coach said, I was suspended because I need to be more responsible. I was being responsible, just not toward them. I put my child first. Whatever people don't understand about it really doesn't bother me. I haven't lost any sleep, I am doing just fine, I got suspended two weeks and a game check, I am coming back this week to play. I have moved on. The sooner you guys move on, I guess, the better you will feel, too.

After seeing the guys this morning do you feel like this is over and you can just move on?
See to me, to be honest with you, I have a few guys on the team that I am close to and when I was suspended I already knew the guys that I was going to talk to or were going to call me and check on me to see how I was doing and, sure as shit, those people called me. I know the people that care about me as a person. Forget football, I know the people that care about me as a person; I knew those people would call me regardless of whatever happened. I know those people that care about me in the locker room. Like I said, my job is to go to work and catch footballs. Everybody doesn't have to like me and I don't have to be friends with everybody. Everybody has a role to play, everybody has a job to do, so my job is to get on the field and catch footballs.

Do you see this incident having an impact on whether you want to be with the Giants for the rest of your career?
I mean, if that is the way you want to boil it up to be, but I signed a five-year deal. This is where I said I wanted to finish at and I am just going to take it done day at a time and see what happens. I am not looking to say what is going to happen in the future. My job is to live throug h the day and try to get to another one tomorrow. That is the way I approach it and that is the way I approach life. Yesterday is over with, two weeks ago is definitely over it, and hey, I am just looking to get back out there on Monday night.

How confident are you that whatever extenuating circumstances were regarding your son or your family that they won't pop up again?
There is no telling what may happen. There may be a time where I may have to be spontaneous again. Like I said, would I make the same decision? Yes. Would I handle the situation a little better? Yes, I would put in a phone call. I can't say what is going to happen. I can't predict the future.

Can you tell us anything about the stories that surfaced about some disturbances at your house involving yourself and your wife?
There is nothing to tell. There is nothing to tell about it.

Did you have any contact with Eli during the time you were away?
Yeah, I talked to him once, I believe, and wished him good luck right before the game and I talked to him this morning. I told him he had a good game yesterday and I was sorry I could n't be there for him and he said, ‘Hey baby, let's just move on. Let's focus on now and getting ready for next week.'

Did you work out on your own while you were suspended and do you feel like you are sharp?
Sharp? I mean I missed one game. I have sat out preseason and came back and played well, so missing a week is not going to hurt me. I didn't practice at all last year, so why is one week going to affect me?

Do you feel that going forward the suspension is going to affect your behavior or change anything?
It hasn't affected my behavior. It happened, I don't have any regrets about the situation, I feel good, I am ready to go, I am ready to play, and I don't see how it is going to affect me. Like I said, I am just going to get back out there and pick up where I left off and then I guess we can let everybody make their assessment and see what they want to say after the game on Monday night. I am ready to go, I am ready to roll, I get to practice for a week before the game, so I am not worried about me performing on the field, that is one thing I am definitely not worried about. I am just ready to get back on the field.

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