Q&A: Plaxico Burress

The Steelers have scored 50 points in the last three games to match their lowest three-game total since the first three weeks of the season. <br><BR>The slump has coincided with the absence of wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who expects to play this week. These were his thoughts before Tuesday's practice:

How's the leg?
I feel great. It's the best I've felt since I've been on the injured list. I feel great, man. You know I haven't felt this good since before I went out of the Cincinnati game. I'm going to go out and warm up, but the only thing is I don't want it to fool me because I'm not having any pain. It's not sore at all and I feel like I can go out and play. We'll go out and warm up real good and see how it feels. I don't want to rush it back because it feels so good. I'm just going to take it one game at a time to see how it feels. I would love to go out and play on Sunday. Right now I feel like I can. I feel like I'm close, probably about 95 percent.

If you are healthy, will you need a few games to get your timing back?
I don't think so. I've been trying to keep myself in the best shape possible the last few weeks. I'd say for me, just go out and get probably two weeks of practice and I think I can get back to where I was before I left. Hopefully that's the case and we can get back to where I left off at.

How important is it to be 100 percent before you come back?
It's very important for me to be 100 percent because some of the things that I do I need to be 100 percent to get the acceleration that I need when the ball's in the air or to make a quick move or jump up for the football, so it's very important for me to be at 100 percent and right now I feel very close to that. I feel good, and it kind of puts a smile on my face because I haven't felt this good in about a month. But at the same time I don't want to go out and overextend it, you know, put too much pressure on it and rush it back and go back to being sore, so I'm just going to see how it feels.

Statistically, the offense has struggled lately. Does the offense miss you?
We're 3-0 since I've been gone. That's the key factor. We haven't lost a game since I've been gone. Like I said a week ago, it's really made a lot of people better. It's making Ben a better quarterback; it's making our receivers better; it's putting confidence in him that players other than Hines and myself and El can go out and make plays. I think it's just making us better collectively as an offense.

Why is it making Ben a better quarterback?
You have to have confidence in players to throw the football to him, and guys have stepped in and made plays for him. What that does it lets him know that other receivers can get open and make plays for him. That's a big confidence booster for him.

How did your obvious rapport with Ben come about?
I'm a 6-6 receiver. If you put the ball in the range of 10-11 feet, I've got good odds of catching the ball. You know, when Tommy came in we had a good rapport. Everybody wanted to know why me and Tommy got off to such a great start. Now, people are asking why me and Ben got off to a good start.

Why didn't it continue with Tommy?
There were a lot of things that happened that stopped us from being successful. It was a number of things. You can't just put it on one person. It was unfortunate that he got hurt, but we've moved on from that. We're a 12-1 football team.

Are you surprised at all by Lee Mays?
I'm not surprised. You know, I go out and work with the guy every day. Lee sits back and watches the things that Hines and myself do. You kind of want to get in on the action. For three years now he's been waiting on his opportunity to go out and play. That's what he's doing. He's putting on good film, showing people that he can plays this game, and go out and make plays. I'm happy for him because everybody wants to go out and perform at this level and he's doing that.

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