ARLINGTON, Texas -- It could be a story of redemption, wrapped around a homecoming. At least that's the way Pittsburgh Steelers' Hines Ward sees it. He'd love the opportunity to reunite with former teammate Plaxico Burress, who will be released in June from an upstate New York prison.
"How great would that be?" Ward said Tuesday at Super Bowl XLV media day at Cowboys Stadium. "For Plax to come back with the Steelers and help us win another Super Bowl, that would be a great story."
Before helping the New York Giants to a Super Bowl title in February 2008, Burress played for the Steelers. He was a first-round pick in 2000 and played in Pittsburgh until 2005, when he signed a free-agent deal with the Giants. Back in the day, Burress and Ward were a formidable receiving tandem.
Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unlicensed handgun in November 2008, and was sentenced to two years in jail. Burress, who will be 34 when he's released, is expected to try a comeback. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said recently said he expects there to be a market for Burress.
Ward said he never visited Burress in prison, but that he prayed for him.
"I know he's getting out pretty soon," Ward said. "For all I know, we'll end up getting Plax on our team. He'll be welcomed with open arms. ... [It was] an unfortunate incident, and I prayed for him a lot. I had some good years with Plax."
Ward said he wouldn't lobby the Steelers' front office to sign Burress, but he added, "If that presented itself and the Pittsburgh Steelers did bring Plaxico back, I'd give him a big hug, and we'd be right out there playing together."
Thing is, the Steelers have terrific depth at receiver, with Mike Wallace and promising rookies Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Ward, who turns 35 in March, has dropped hints about retirement, but indicated last week that he wants to play at least another season.