Last offseason the Steelers spent the free agency signing period putting the band back together by re-acquiring former starters Larry Foote, Antwaan Randle El and Bryant McFadden. Even though no roster movement has taken place this offseason (because of the damn lockout) there’s been plenty of talk about another former friend making a return: Plaxico Burress, who was recently released from prison after serving two years behind bars.
My opinion on the matter is quite clear — I don’t see the point, not because Burress is some sort of distraction or rabble-rouser that will bring the whole operation down from the inside, but because the Steelers have better players at his position that should be getting the bulk of the playing time. Players like Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and, of course, wily veteran Hines Ward.
One person that would seem to be in favor of bring Burress back? Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Here’s what he had to say on the subject, via Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review…
“I’ve talked to Plax a number of times in the last couple of weeks,” Roethlisberger said. “I told him, ‘Hey, if you came back here that would be awesome, but I’m just happy to see you playing again’ because he’s a good guy.”
Of course, this is being used as an excuse to dig up Roethlisberger’s past comments on his desire to have a tall wide receiver on the roster (Burress is 6’5). As we’ve discussed around here in the past that factor can be extremely overrated for a pass catcher.
Along with Roethlisberger’s recent comments, Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette mentioned on Twitter earlier this week that the Steelers coaches were intrigued by the possibility of Burress and, depending on the price, would release Randle El to make room for him on the roster. On Tuesday night Dulac followed that up by pointing out the possible addition of Burress would cut into the playing time for Sanders and Brown — as I stated above — which would concern the Steelers.
That makes the decision an easy one: Don’t sign him.
If nothing else it’s helped to make the Pittsburgh sports talk circuit a little more interesting this week, especially when combined with the Penguins courtship of one their former players, Jaromir Jagr.