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A Change For the Better
JEFFRI CHADIHA
October 31, 2005
Largely ignored as a free agent because of his troublesome rep, Plaxico Burress landed in New York, where he's Eli Manning's favorite target-and the NFL's best off-season pickup
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October 31, 2005

A Change For The Better

Largely ignored as a free agent because of his troublesome rep, Plaxico Burress landed in New York, where he's Eli Manning's favorite target-and the NFL's best off-season pickup

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That insight, plus an endorsement from the Steelers, convinced the Giants that Burress could work in their system. It wasn't easy at first-Accorsi was so frustrated by negotiations with Burress's agent, Michael Harrison, that he publicly rescinded New York's offer. Then Burress switched to high-powered agent Drew Rosenhaus and signed a six-year, $25 million contract. Now it looks like the Giants got a steal. "You can see [ Burress] has learned the game, and he's excelling because of that," says Jacksonville pro personnel director Charles Bailey. "He knows how to use his size, read defenses on the move and adjust to coverage. All that is part of his game now."

Off the field Burress has run afoul of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, a noted disciplinarian, twice for being late to team meetings-once after he got a flat tire, and once when he stopped to buy dress socks to avoid breaking a Coughlin rule: no white socks on road trips. "I'm enjoying myself so much that I can handle his rules for six or seven hours a day," Burress says. After the second infraction, though, Burress was benched for the first quarter of the Sept. 25 game in San Diego; the Giants fell behind 21-3, then scored 17 unanswered points after Burress entered the game. (The Giants eventually lost 45-23.)

Since then Burress has been trouble only for opponents. After the victory on Sunday he seemed surprised that Bailey had shadowed him the entire game, treatment he rarely received in Pittsburgh. But a lot has changed since he left the Steelers. "The best thing about sports is that you always get a chance to prove people wrong," Burress says. "All I asked for was an opportunity like the one I've got now. And all I'm doing is making the most of it."

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