Plaxico Burress discusses prison life

Updated: June 13, 2011, 12:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

When it comes to playing again, Plaxico Burress just asks for a clean slate.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in his first extensive comments since being released Monday from prison, Burress reiterated he was ready for another chance in the NFL.

Burress I'm taking it easy this week, but next week it starts again. I think I'll get right back into it and I'll fall back in line with all of it.

-- Plaxico Burress

"I know what I'm capable of," the former Giants receiver told the newspaper. "All I need to say to teams is, 'Don't judge my future by my past.' Just let me come out and play football."

Burress confirmed prison-life cliches such as bad food and lost time held true. And the weight room wasn't much beyond serviceable, the Journal reported.

"There is nothing pleasant about prison," he said. "There's so much I can tell you and (at the same time) no one thing I can put my finger on. There's an emotional toll and there were definitely some guys I was around who'd done things that made me say, 'Really, seriously, I am here?' "

Yet Burress said he thought he left prison a better receiver than he entered.

"There weren't a lot of guys throwing perfect spirals in there," Burress joked. "I had to work to catch those balls."

Burress has not played football since late November in 2008 when a handgun that was tucked in his sweatpants slipped from his waistband and went off as he tried to grab the gun while in a New York City nightclub.

Burress shot himself in the thigh. Nearly a year later, he entered prison to serve his sentence in September 2009. He was released about three months early for good behavior.

Burress said he was able to watch NFL games on Sunday and Monday nights during the 20-month, 16-day stay at Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

"It definitely makes you hungrier. You watch your friends have success and you want to recommit yourself and accomplish things again," he said.

Burress said he will bide his time during the lockout by focusing on his family.

"Time had definitely passed," he told the Journal of seeing his family again, including 4-year-old Elijah. "I hold conversations with my son and I see how really intelligent he is and I'm so grateful."

On 18-month-old daughter Giovanna: "We just have to let her do her."

Burress said the family-first approach was part of the advice parted to him from Michael Vick, one of several NFL players who have offered their support and lobbied for the receiver's post-lockout services.

Former teammates Justin Tuck and Shaun O'Hara have said they would like to see Burress back with the Giants.

"You never know what may happen," Burress said. "I love New York. My fan base has always supported me there, and I've had teammates there who I've shared special moments with outside of football."

Burress said his agenda for next week, after he returns from Florida to his home in Totowa, N.J., will include a public appearance Monday with former Colts coach Tony Dungy to talk about gun safety.

"I'm taking it easy this week, but next week it starts again," Burress said. "I think I'll get right back into it and I'll fall back in line with all of it. How I feel about football and what I know I can do -- that's not anything two years can change."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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