Pick up the *%^ing phone

$35 million over five years. $11 million just this season. That’s a whole lot of money to pay somebody who hasn’t participated in a practice in almost two years.

I don’t mean to take away anything from how important wide receiver Plaxico Burress is to my favorite team, the New York Giants; not only did he help take us to the Super Bowl, but he caught the actual touchdown pass that allowed the G-Men to win it. When they gave him the contract extension that he demanded all preseason, I really couldn’t be mad.

What I can be mad about, however, is that the Giants had to go into Week 4 without their leading receiver, and there is nobody to blame but Plaxico himself. Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe the Giants knew what they were getting into when they signed the troublemaker. He held his reputation way before he came to New York.

But the fact is the Giants gave Plax his contract extension. They gave him exactly what he wanted, and how does he respond? By “no call/no-showing” a practice. For $11 million dollars in a single season, I don’t think it’s too much for him to just pick up the damn phone and say, “Hey Tom, I can’t come to practice.”

Having a family emergency is a legitimate excuse for missing practice, but there is no excuse for not letting your team know you won’t make it to the field that day.

The Giants responded with a $250,000 fine and a two-week suspension. Burress didn’t think this was fair. He appealed and was rewarded a large portion of his money back, but the suspension stood.

Was the suspension fair? If it were for a first offense, I would have to say it would be excessive. But it doesn’t take a football genius to know there is no chance this was a first-time offense for Plaxico. Not only is the suspension fair, it was necessary.

I’ve read the reports. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, Burress has been fined between 40-50 times since coming to New York. The Giants need to make the statement that this behavior is unacceptable. Otherwise, what’s to stop him from doing something like this again?

Plax is a team leader and he should start acting like it. He needs to stop making excuses and start accepting responsibility for his actions. Everyone knows Burress is one of the biggest reasons the New York Giants have shiny new rings on their fingers, but that doesn’t give him an excuse to come and go as he pleases.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I am being a little too tough on Plaxico. Maybe the suspension and fine were excessive. But there’s one thing I know for sure: Next time Burress can’t make it to practice, he is going to pick up the telephone and let someone know.