Giants WR Burress returns after one-game ban, cites 'right decision'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- An unapologetic Plaxico Burress rejoined the New York Giants on Monday, noting he didn't lose any sleep after the Super Bowl champions suspended him for a game.

Burress missed a team meeting two weeks ago without bothering to telephone the Giants but sounded ready to put the suspension behind him.

"Why would there be any hard feelings? It was a decision that they chose to make, and I was fine with it," he said. "They feel that they needed to do that, so I took it with a grain of salt and kept on moving."

Coach Tom Coughlin said he expected Burress to start in next Monday night's game at Cleveland.

"That is something I hadn't really thought about or discussed," Coughlin said Monday. "I should have anticipated it. But I would say right now, yes."

Coughlin said that Burress was told to report back early Monday morning.

"He exercised with his teammates; he ran and he did the things that he was supposed to do," Coughlin said.

The receiver who caught the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl attributed his absence Sept. 22 to a family emergency, which he described as having to take his son to school.

"It was just a situation I had to deal with that morning, and I made the right decision," Burress said during a conference call that lasted about 20 minutes. "I don't have any regrets about the decision I made at all."

Burress said that family would still come first next time but that he would make sure he made a telephone call to let the Giants know about the problem.

"My emotions were that they suspended me," said Burress, who sat out Sunday's 44-6 win over Seattle. "That was the decision they chose to do. I'll take it at that. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I got me some rest and was able to get away for a while and chill out and relax. Things like that happen. I'll keep moving forward and get back to doing what I do: catching footballs, scoring touchdowns and get back to work."

Along with the suspension, Burress was fined one week's pay, or roughly $117,500. The Giants originally docked him $235,000, but the player and the team reached a settlement last week that cut the fine in half.

Burress, who caught a career-high 12 touchdowns last season, never explained why he did not report to Giants Stadium after dropping his son off at school. He indicated that there was more involved without getting into explanations.

"There are some things that you guys don't know," Burress said. "So you can't say it wasn't an emergency on my part because you don't know everything that was going on."

The nine-year veteran refused to be more specific.

"Coach said I was suspended because I needed to be more responsible. I was being responsible, I just put my child first," he said.

Burress also refused to discuss problems with his wife. Police were called to his home twice this year in response to domestic problems.

"There is nothing to tell," he said.

Burress said he and his wife talked to the team on the night of Sept. 22, and he spoke with general manager Jerry Reese the next day. He was suspended the following day after a meeting with Reese and Coughlin.

Burress said that he did not argue with either Reese or Coughlin after being suspended and that he respected their decision's being for the good of the team.

"What was I supposed to do, cry?" said Burress, who admitted he let down his teammates by not being on the field Sunday. "They told me I was suspended. I didn't argue with them. I took it, walked out and left."

Burress said he watched the first half of Sunday's game and felt the team was clicking, noting that halfback Brandon Jacobs ran the ball well and Eli Manning was efficient.

"We all celebrate each other's success, and that's what separates us from a lot of the teams around the league," Burress said. "We don't care who goes out and catches the ball or scores or things like that. We want to see everyone do good. Because of me not being able to play, a lot of guys got in and got action, which will make us a better team down the road."

Burress said several teammates spoke with him during the suspension.

"I'm really, really not concerned about the way my teammates look at me as far as basing decisions on my family," he said. "My family is my first priority. It doesn't matter how people look at me. Football is the best temporary job I'm ever going to have in my life. My family is going to be here forever. I told them that. I'll tell you guys that. I feel I made the right decision. I'm still living. I'm still walking around. I'm fine."

Burress admitted he does not know how many times he has been fined since joining the Giants in 2005, but it is a lot.

"Some of the demands they ask me to do, I just don't meet," said Burress, who led the Giants with 18 catches after three games. "Maybe I have a problem with time or something, I don't know. I haven't been able to quite put my finger on it. Does it really bother or affect me? No. When it's times to step on the field and play, that's what I do."

Burress, who was barred from Giants Stadium during his suspension, returned early Monday morning and did some lifting and running. He also talked to Coughlin, who said Burress remains a starter.

"As far as being on the same page, we hit and miss sometimes," Burress said of Coughlin. "We had a conversation today and I listened to what he had to say and we'll move on from there."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.