The Steelers may see Plaxcio Burress in 2011 – but it won’t be wearing black and gold again.
The former Steelers first-round pick inked a deal with one of the Steelers rivals on Sunday – the New York Jets, the team the Steelers stopped in the AFC Title game for the right to play in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas this past February.
The deal for Burress is a reported one-year deal worth $3.017 million, all of which is guaranteed.
“He really wanted to come here I know,” said Byron Leftwich, who had been working out with Burress. “He loved Coach [Mike] Tomlin and he really enjoyed his time here. You didn’t have to sell him on returning.”
As with most things in the NFL, it probably came down to money. The Steelers are one of a number of teams who are trying to get under the cap of about $120 million. The offer the Jets made in terms of money was simply better, and even if he really wanted to return to the Steel City, the Steelers couldn’t match the deal.
“I think he was really considering it,” said linebacker James Farrior. “It was one of his main options. When you get guys of his caliber, you don’t want them to leave the building [without offering a contract].”
Burress played five seasons with the Steelers, catching 261 passes for 4,164 yards and 22 touchdowns, before signing in free agency with the Giants after the 2004 season.