Plaxico Burress’ 2007 season will always hold a special place in the hearts of Giants fans, no matter what transpired the next year, but the former wide receiver’s season was actually more impressive than what met the eyes.
Burress joined Master Tesfatsion in Bleacher Report’s “Untold Stories” and offered a peek behind the curtain on exactly what he was going through during that Super Bowl season – explaining that he played the whole season with a tendon in his right ankle completely snapped in half with no stability in his foot or ankle.
Burress, who first felt a pop in his right ankle during training camp, said his injury went south after a game against the Packers when Al Harris stepped on it and reached the point where he felt he could not play.
The receiver went to then-GM Jerry Reese and told him he could not play but was sent to see a specialist in Charlotte who game him three options: get put in a cast for eight weeks, which would have cost him to miss the season with the rehab on top of that; two break heal and reset it, which Burress definitely did not want to do; and three -- simply just play based on pain tolerance.
“[John] Mara, [trainer Ronnie Barnes] asked, ‘can you go out and play on Sundays and not practice?’ … I was like, uh, I don’t know I’ll give it a try,” Burress said. “In the back of my mind, I’m like I’m putting my career on the line, for the team.
“As the season goes on, I go out and play my teammates have no idea why I’m not practicing. …Everyone was like oh you found a loophole in the system. I couldn’t tell anybody. The owner, the trainer never spoke about it to the media.”
On essentially one foot, Burress still put together an impressive season of 70 catches, 1,025 yards and a career-high 12 touchdown passes.
“Eli [Manning], myself we spent a lot of time together when I wasn’t playing,” Burress said. “I was playing some of the best football in my life and I kinda attribute that to my ankle was in a lot of pain, but my legs were fresh on Sunday.”
Oh, but it gets even better. Burress said that the week of the Super Bowl he slipped walking out of the shower and twisted his knee, which swelled up and forced him to essentially play one one leg.
“Fast forward to Sunday, they wrap my knee up, gave me really, really good medicine,” Burres sadi. “ … I don’t know what it was. [It felt like] didn’t have a knee. Feel like I bought a knee off eBay, I was feeling fantastic.”
Burress made the memorable game-winning catch on the final drive of that Super Bowl to help the Giants upset the 18-0 New England Patriots, but that catch was no sure thing.
“Fourth quarter…knee is killing me,” Burress said. “It’s the Super Bowl, if I gotta jump off this leg like it’s not hurting, if I tear my knee up, f--k it. [The] ball couldn’t come down fast enough. Said to myself, ‘man, if you drop this football you will not be allowed back in New Jersey.’ Still to this day, as time goes on, it starts to mean even more to you.”