Plaxico Burress was formally sentenced for attempted possession of a weapon Tuesday and went directly from there to jail. Burress agreed to a plea deal that sends him to prison for two years so that he could avoid the possibility of more jail time as a result of the infamous incident in Manhattan's Latin Quarter nightclub that left him with a hole in his thigh and left the Giants with a hole in their offense.
The former star tearfully told his family goodbye as he surrendered to begin his prison stint -- with time off for good behavior, Burress likely will serve 20 months.
His trip to jail would probably be getting more coverage this week if the Giants hadn't pulled out a late win against the Cowboys on Sunday night. If Eli Manning's last gasp had fallen short, you can bet that there would be people bemoaning Burress's loss. As things stand today, the Giants seem to miss Lionel Manuel or Stephen Baker as much as Burress, which means people are focusing on other things. Manning didn't miss the man who made him look so good during the run to the Super Bowl, and looked just fine throwing to Derek Hagan on the winning drive instead of airing balls out for the guy who wore number 17 in blue.
If Sunday night made it clear that the Giants hadn't lost all that much, it also made crystal clear just how much Burress has lost. One slippery gun, one ill-placed grab and one bullet to the thigh ruined a career that figured to have at least three or four years and many millions of dollars left in it. He lost as much as $27 million from the Giants as a result of the shooting, and even after they released him he would have signed with someone else had the D.A.'s office not taken such a special interest in the case.
That's not meant to criticize the decision to prosecute Burress. Laws are laws and need to be prosecuted or changed to better reflect social mores. There's no doubt that the combination of Burress's notoriety and unrealistic strategy of asking for complete exoneration made his case a priority that it wouldn't have been if he'd been someone else and/or willing to find a middle ground with prosecutors. If he had, he might have served six months and be winding down an NFL suspension right now instead of getting a new, longer number on a prison uniform.