NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Giants Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress is to get out of prison in June, after officials agreed Friday to shave about three months off his time behind bars in a gun case.
A committee of prison-system staffers decided Burress was eligible for time off for good behavior, so he can be freed after serving about 21 months of his two-year sentence, system spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.
With Burress’ release date now set for June 6, his agent and lawyer said he’s looking to return to football — and a number of teams are looking at him.
“He’s counting the hours,” lawyer Peter M. Frankel said. “He’s extremely positive.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled that Burress would be reinstated and eligible to sign with a team upon completing his sentence. While the league and players are locked in negotiations that have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the sport’s next season, Frankel and Burress agent Drew Rosenhaus said several teams had expressed interest in the receiver.
“The future is very bright for Plaxico,” Rosenhaus said in an e-mail.
Burress, 33, caught the winning touchdown for the Giants over the New England Patriots in the final minute of the 2008 Super Bowl. But his fortunes turned in November of that year, when he went to a Manhattan nightclub with a gun tucked in the waistband of his track pants; he later said he had been concerned for his safety because a teammate had been held up at gunpoint days before.
Burress’ weapon slipped down his leg and fired, injuring him in the thigh. The bullet narrowly missed a security guard, prosecutors said.
The gun wasn’t licensed in New York or New Jersey, where Burress lived, and his Florida concealed-weapons permit had expired. He also failed to report the incident to authorities.
He pleaded guilty in August 2009 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.
Held in protective custody at an upstate prison because of his notoriety, Burress was turned down twice in bids for work release. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which opposed work release for Burress, declined to comment on Friday’s decision.
Burress had a work assignment in prison and completed an anger management program while incarcerated, his lawyer said.
He’s been tagged with three minor disciplinary problems, including an episode in which corrections officers said Burress lied about having permission to use the phone to call his lawyer at a time when calls weren’t permitted, Foglia said. The November 2009 misstep cost him a week of phone privileges and 30 days of recreation privileges.
Details on the other two incidents weren’t immediately available, but none was seen as serious enough to trim his time off for good behavior. His June release date is the earliest allowed under a state law that required him to serve at least six-sevenths of his sentence.
“He’s done his best to abide by” prison rules, Frankel said.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese has said the team will keep its options open with Burress.
For now, “we are grateful that Plaxico and his wife, Tiffany, and their children now know when they will be reunited and able to get on with their lives together,” team spokesman Pat Hanlon said. “As we have stated many times in the past, we feel that day is long overdue.”
Giants placekicker Lawrence Tynes said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he thinks of Burress often because his sons attend the same school as Burress’ son.
“He deserves to be back in the NFL and if that opportunity comes from the New York Giants then he will be welcomed back with open arms from us in the locker room,” said Tynes, who was on the Super Bowl championship team with Burress. “I’ve always personally wondered why the Giants never issued his No. 17 jersey to anyone over the past two seasons. If it happens to be with another franchise then I hope he has nothing but good health and success.”