Plaxico Burress said security at a New York nightclub knew he had a gun on the night he accidentally shot himself while walking up a flight of stairs in November 2008.
That gunshot landed him in jail for two years after a guilty plea last week. Burress will be sentenced Sept. 22.
Burress spoke for the first time publicly in an interview with ESPN E:60 correspondent Jeremy Schaap on Monday afternoon in Florida. The complete interview is scheduled to air Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN).
Burress said that security at the Latin Quarter nightclub knew he was carrying a gun. "It wasn't like I was trying to hide it," Burress said.
"I go into this place and go through the security -- they know I have it and they pat me down and they said 'OK,' and they let me in with it."
Burress said he was in the club for about five minutes when a crowd of people began to gather around him. At that point, he said club personnel asked if he wanted to go to an upstairs room to "relax" and get away from others.
As he was walking upstairs, Burress said he missed a step and the gun began to slide down his pantleg. Burress said he reached to stop it from hitting the ground when he accidentally pulled the trigger through his pants.
"My finger hit, like, right on the trigger," he said. "What are the odds on that happening?"
He said he didn't realize he was shot until he noticed that his shoes were red with blood. He said nobody heard the gunshot. He told teammate Antonio Pierce to take him to the hospital.
"I never even made it up to the VIP room," he said. He said he was wearing black jeans, not sweatpants as earlier reported, and a sweatshirt.
Schaap asked Burress why he did not have a holster.
"Bad judgment," Burress said.
The 32-year-old Burress pleaded guilty last Thursday to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon.
His plea deal calls for a two-year prison term. Burress is to be sentenced Sept. 22. With time off for good behavior, Burress likely will serve 20 months. He will be monitored during an additional two years of supervised release.
Burress' lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the New York Post last weekend that his client is getting advice from a prison consultant on "how to use his period of confinement as productively as possible."
"I really don't know what to expect, to be honest with you," Burress told Schaap. "I know people that went in and came out and they tell you about it, but as a person -- nobody wants to go to prison.
"Like I said, I got myself into a situation and, you know, I gotta deal with the consequences for it."
Burress was indicted earlier in August on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. He faced a minimum sentence of 3½ years if convicted at trial.
The Giants released Burress in April; he has not signed with a new team.
Hours after Burress' court appearance last Thursday, the NFL announced that commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended the receiver and said Burress is ineligible to sign with any team until he completes his prison term. After that, Burress may sign with an NFL team without further review.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report