David Diehl says his past comments about Plaxico Burress "needing a fresh start" were overblown, and Diehl would love to have the wide receiver as a teammate if Burress elects to return to the Giants.
Burress is slated to have dinner with head coach Tom Coughlin, who he’s clashed with in the past, on Friday night to discuss the possibility of a reunion.
"Did you read the whole article?" Diehl asked. "That’s what I was saying for Plaxico, because people were asking me, 'Do you think he should stay? He’s saying he wants to go, how can he say that?'
"I was stating the whole time that if (I) were in Plaxico’s shoes, I could see a reason why he would wanna go. That wasn’t my personal opinion. I was stating what he was probably thinking -- and all of us would probably think that way. But would I want him as a teammate? Without a doubt. If it wasn’t for him and things that we did in 2007 and ‘08 to win the Super Bowl, who knows if we would’ve even gotten that far.
"I never said that he shouldn’t be a Giant. I said I could understand why he’s coming off to a point and saying that he doesn’t know if he wants to be here."
"He’s a tremendous player," Diehl continued. "He’s a guy that if you have him out there, he draws a lot of attention. You can’t play eight guys in the box against us when he's in there, which opens up the run."
Speaking to the NFL Network in May, here’s what Diehl had to say about Burress:
"He's had a lot of success for us as a player," Diehl said. "But, if I were Plaxico, I would say no. With everything that happened, Plaxico has taken a lot of heat, not only through the media. I think about Michael Vick's situation. He went into a new situation, a new city, where he could almost start fresh with new teammates and go back to basics."
"If I were Plaxico, I don't think I would want to," Diehl said of returning. "It's reality. It happened. It's easy for someone on the outside looking in to judge. But it's a whole different experience when you're the person it happened to. From this point on, he's going to live with this for the rest of his life. He can change, and I'm sure he's changed, since it happened. And I'm sure when he comes out, he'll be a better husband and father. He's going to want to prove all the naysayers wrong. That's enough to fuel anyone.
"More importantly, if I were in that position, in order to move on and start fresh, you have to get back to square one," Diehl continued. "That's getting back to playing football. That's getting back to yourself, and not only enjoying your family, but enjoying your life and being happy again. For him, I think that's somewhere else."
Diehl was asked how he thinks the dinner between Burress and Coughlin will go.
"I think that they’re gonna have to discuss some things," Diehl said. "Both of them are strong-willed and both of them are gonna have their own opinions, but the thing is, both of them love football. They both love this game and I think that coach throughout the years has made a lot of changes to himself, and I think Plax is gonna see that. And Plax is gonna be a different person than what he was. I think anyone would be after spending that long in jail. I think he’s gonna be appreciative and with two kids, his passion is gonna be greater."
Diehl said it would be up to Burress as to whether he should offer the team an apology when he comes back.
"He never caused drama throughout his time as a Giant," Diehl said. "He was a good guy in the locker room. ... For me, I don’t need an apology from him."