The Steelers brought back the veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress to provide depth at a position decimated by injuries while hoping there’s enough gas left in the 35-year-old’s tank to give the offense an added dimension near the goal line.
Burress impressed Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert in a brief workout early Tuesday even though he hasn’t played since the end of the 2011 season as a member of the N.Y Jets.
”He’s in good physical condition based on the workout I just saw,” Tomlin asserted. ”He’s got excellent body control for a big man. He will be able to drop his weight at break points and obviously he’s familiar with football.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) need of healthy bodies at wide receiver after Jerricho Cotchery fractured his ribs late in Sunday night’s 13-10 loss to Ravens. Antonio Brown has missed the last 2 games due to an ankle injury and Tomlin listed Brown as controversial for Sunday’s game against Cleveland (2-8).
The 6-foot-5 Burress spent his first 5 seasons in the NFL with the Steelers, who selected him with the 8th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft. He moved on to the N.Y Giants in 2005 and caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 2008 Super Bowl before his career derailed after incidentally shooting himself in a New York nightclub, leading to a gun charge that led to a 20-month prison sentence.
Pittsburgh courted Burress when he returned to the league last summer, though Burress decided on a more lucrative $3 million offer from the New York Jets. Though he lacked the explosion that made him one of the better deep threats in the league during his prime, Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and tied for the team lead with 8 touchdown receptions.
The Jets opted not to bring him back however, and and Burress has spent the majority of the year looking for a job. He’s finally got one on a team making an attempt to keep its playoff chances afloat without injured QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is nursing a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated first rib
Roethlisberger underwent further testing on Tuesday, with encouraging results, though he will be able to pretty much certainly miss his 2nd straight start. Second stringer Byron Leftwich is also out after fracturing his ribs against the Baltimore Ravens. Enter Charlie Batch. Vegas odds
The seemingly ageless 37-year-old will fill in yet again on Sunday. Batch is 5-2 while subbing for Roethlisberger over the last decade, including a tidy 208-yard performance in a 27-0 triumph over St. Louis last December.
The Steelers signed former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer as insurance. Hoyer spent 3 seasons backing up Tom Brady with the New England before being released at the end of training camp in August.
Pittsburgh’s passing game has thrived under Haley this season, with Roethlisberger on pace for career-highs in attempts, completions, completion percentage and touchdowns before going down. The only thing the Steelers lack is a receiver who presents a mismatch in red zone, a role Burress can fill nicely.