Burress' Lofty Goal

PITTSBURGH - This has been a tumultuous year so far for Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress. From the death of his mother to his arrest in Virginia Beach, Va. on public intoxication charges, Burress has seen his life turn upside down. Now, he just wants to turn the NFL upside down.

"I want to be the best," said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver. "I want to be the best player in the league at my position."

That is a lofty goal, but one the Steelers hope Burress achieves. The Steelers selected Burress with the eighth overall pick in the 2000 draft and watched as he struggled through his rookie season, catching just 22 passes before a wrist injury suffered in the season opener eventually ended his season

Many saw Burress as a bust after that rookie season. He came back in 2001 wanting to prove the doubters wrong. "I played my entire rookie season with a broken bone in my wrist," Burress said. "I'm not making an excuse and I didn't make any excuses then, but I was in a lot of pain."

In 2001, Burress was only a pain to opposing cornerbacks. After a slow start, Burress had a monster second half, catching 39 passes for 612 yards and five touchdowns in the Steelers' final eight regular season games. He wants to be an even bigger part of the offense in 2002.

"We're still going to be a running team," Burress said. "But teams have to know now that if they're going to commit to stopping our running game, Hines (Ward), Atwaan (Randle El) and me are going to beat them."

--Dale Lolley

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