Plaxico Burress ruling likely by Sept. 9

Updated: August 5, 2010, 10:59 AM ET
By Sal Paolantonio | ESPN

Plaxico Burress has applied for work release from prison for the second time, sources said.

Burress
Burress

Burress, who is in a New York state prison until June 2011 on felony weapons possession charges, applied for work release last month and is expected to get a ruling from state authorities by the beginning of the NFL season on Sept. 9.

The league -- which had previously stated that Burress' suspension would end upon completion of his sentence -- said that if he is granted a work release, his suspension would be lifted.

However, because of the terms of the work-release program, which usually calls for a prisoner to work Monday through Friday but return to prison on the weekends, the chances of him being able to play football anytime soon are remote. It is possible, but not likely, that the department of corrections would grant special privileges.

Traveling outside the state is also often prohibited under work release, according to Department of Corrections guidelines. Burress' attorneys would have to argue that the only way for their client to make a living in his chosen profession would be to get a waiver from those rules.

"Waivers are rare, but not impossible," said one source familiar with Burress' case.

Burress, then with the New York Giants, was at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan in November 2008 with a .40-caliber gun tucked into the waistband of his track pants. Burress had the weapon, he said, out of concern for his safety because a teammate had been held up at gunpoint days earlier. The gun slipped down Burress' leg and fired, injuring his right thigh.

The gun was not 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.

Prosecutors argued the bullet narrowly missed a security guard, warranting a stiffer punishment. In early August 2009, Burress was indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. He faced a minimum sentence of 3½ years if convicted at trial.

On Aug. 20, Burress pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to two years in prison. The Giants released him in April 2009.

Sal Paolantonio is a reporter for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Sal Paolantonio

SportsCenter correspondent / NFL reporter
Sal Paolantonio joined ESPN as a SportsCenter correspondent in August 1995, primarily reporting on the NFL. Beginning in 2004, he also served as host of NFL Match-Up, a weekly "Xs and Os" football show produced by NFL Films.

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