Yesterday Plaxico Burress had season ending surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Not only was the surgery season ending it will most likely end his career. At 36 years old Burress is considered ancient by NFL standards and the excess baggage he carries makes it difficult for teams to rationalize taking a chance on him. He's got the physical attributes and football resume to squeak out one more year, but so did Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson and they couldn't make it happen. If Plaxico Burress has played his last game how will you remember him?
It would be nice if you remembered him as a man from humble beginnings in Virginia that overcame adversity to excel as a wide receiver at Michigan St. and the NFL. It would be nice if you remembered Plax as a nightmare match up for defensive backs trying to defend him on the fade route in the end zone. It would be nice if you remembered him as a charitable man who gave back to the community donating his time and money to worthy causes. Those things would be nice, but let's be honest. That's not how you will remember him.
Most of you will remember him as the idiot that shot himself in the leg at a nightclub and went to jail for two years. The guy that threw it all away and let his family and teammates down. A punchline for various jokes and analogies when illustrating an egregious error in judgement. It's unfortunate that one mistake can define a player's entire career.
On the flip side Plaxico Burress did have a game winning catch in the Super Bowl and managed to carve out a 14 year career (not counting the years he was incarcerated). Hopefully he was smart with his money and put the millions of dollars he earned in the NFL to good use. Happy trails Plax. You were a colorful, polarizing figure that will always be a part of the history of football. For better or worse you will never be forgotten.