For those who thought wide receiver Plaxico Burress had spent the last of his remaining best years locked away in a prison cell, you might want to think again.
Burress had his breakout game Sunday for the New York Jets, catching three touchdown passes in the red zone to lead his team to a 27-21 win over the San Diego Chargers. His three-yard reception on a slant pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez with 8:41 left in the game gave the Jets their first lead of the day at 24-21.
"Every morning you wake up on Sundays and you want to be great," said Burress, who also had touchdown receptions of three and four yards on that day. "I had to let the game come to me. I think I've been forcing it. But this was them saying, 'He's been working hard, we'll stick with it.'
"The fans pay money to come see you do well, and I felt for the past few weeks I was not playing well. This is gratifying."
It was just the second time in his career and the first since 2007 with the New York Jets that Burress had caught three touchdown passes in a game. Some had wondered whether this type of production was possible after Burress was released earlier this year from prison on weapons charges that put his career on hold for a couple of seasons.
There were even more doubts after he and the other Jets receivers seemed to struggle to get in synch with Sanchez. But those concerns may now be issues of the past.
"You've got to evaluate yourself," Burress said. "I looked at myself and said, 'I've got to play better.' It was not on anybody but myself."
(Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)