Burress gives Giants a scare in first practice

Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2005

The New York Giants got a scare Saturday when Plaxico Burress, one of their main offseason acquisitions, injured a knee 30 minutes into the team's first preseason practice.

Fortunately for the Giants and Burress, that's all it was — a scare.

Coach Tom Coughlin said the initial diagnosis was a hyperextended knee and added: ''If that's what it is, then he'll make good progress coming back.'' He was back for the afternoon practice.

Burress, who spent his first five NFL seasons with Pittsburgh before signing a six-year, $25 million deal with New York, was one of several major free agent signings the Giants made in the offseason in hopes of improving on a 10-22 record the past two seasons.

He went down about a half-hour into the first session when he fell to the ground after battling rookie Ahmad Treaudo for a pass thrown by backup quarterback Jesse Palmer.


Nine-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Larry Allen was placed on the physically unable to perform list after failing a conditioning test.

Coach Bill Parcells didn't say how long the veteran guard would be held out of practice.

Allen worked with one of the team's strength coaches on the side, throwing a heavy medicine ball and went through several running drills.

''The league has really mandated us to be very, very cautious in light of some incidents that have happened in the past,'' Parcells said in a clear reference to the death of Minnesota offensive tackle Korey Stringer in training camp in 2001.

''So I would say we're erring on the side of caution. That's the best way to put it.''

Linebacker Kevin Burnett from Tennessee, the team's second-round pick, signed a contract early Saturday and was on the field for the first practice. Later, the team reached terms with both of its first-round picks, defensive ends Demarcus Ware and Marcus Spears.


Stephen Davis, recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee, was unable to practice when the Panthers opened training camp.

''Age has nothing to do with it,'' the 31-year-old running back repeated four times when asked about it Saturday.

For now, he can only watch DeShaun Foster, Nick Goings and rookie Eric Shelton at his position.

On Friday, the Panthers placed Davis on the physically unable to perform list, saying he failed his physical and was not ready to practice. But he quickly disputed that, claiming he was never really examined because it had already been determined that he would slowly continue to rehab.

He said he's targeting the third preseason game as his return date and said he will be disappointed if he isn't ready for the Sept. 11 season opener.

''I feel that if we had a Super Bowl game, or an important playoff game right now, I could go and play right now,'' he said. ''The thing is, we don't want to do anything stupid and go out there and something happens. Then you would say 'What if we would have waited?' ''


The Browns have offered Kellen Winslow Jr. an opportunity to earn back the $2 million he forfeited after violating a ''dangerous activities'' clause in his contract and was hurt in a motorcycle accident.

They are doing it by offering to restructure Winslow's contract, allowing him to recoup some of his financial losses.

''We are currently discussing a structure that includes the ability where he can earn the lion's share of what he could have made,'' owner Randy Lerner said.

Lerner said the club has had ''productive'' meetings with Winslow, his family and agents Kevin and Carl Poston to resolve what has been a sensitive issue.

Winslow will miss the season with injuries sustained in the crash.


The team opened camp without first-round draft pick Matt Jones and with running back Fred Taylor nursing his surgically repaired left knee.

Jones, a quarterback at Arkansas who is making the transition to receiver, was the team's lone no-show when players reported to camp Friday.

The oft-injured Taylor had surgery in January to repair two partially torn ligaments in his left knee and was limited Saturday.

He cut gingerly, ran with a noticeable limp and wore a protective knee brace. He participated in most team drills, but was tentative during them.


Guard Will Shields missed practice with back trouble and coach Dick Vermeil acknowledged he's concerned about his 10-time Pro Bowl guard.

Shields, a 13-year veteran, debated during the offseason about whether to retire or play one more year. He said in an interview on Thursday that his hesitation ''was more physical than anything else.''

Vermeil said Saturday that Shields would see another doctor for what amounts to a third opinion on his ongoing back problem. Asked if he was worried that Shields might not play at all this year, Vermeil said, ''I think you always have to have a little concerned.''



Detroit welcomed back injury plagued wide receiver Charles Rogers and linebacker Boss Bailey, its first two draft picks in 2003.

Rogers, who broke his right collarbone twice and has played only five games, rolled after a catch and a chorus of teammates urged him to get up. He bounded to his feet and returned to the huddle.

''I saw him catch it and get up and I never thought another second about it,'' head coach Steve Mariucci said.

Bailey, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was limited to one practice.



For the first time in the four-year history of the franchise, the Texans started training camp without their top draft pick.

Defensive tackle Travis Johnson, the 16th pick in the draft, has yet to sign a contract and missed the first day of practice. He was the only player not at camp. The Texans have never encountered this problem before.

''I know that we're still working on it but I don't know where we are,'' coach Dom Capers said. ''But when he comes in here we'll put him on a crash course.''



Dwight Freeney could miss the Indianapolis Colts' trip to Japan next week.

Freeney, last year's NFL sacks leader, missed the first seven practices of training camp after having offseason shoulder surgery. On Saturday, the defensive end said there was a good chance he would not travel to Japan for Indianapolis' preseason opener against Atlanta.

He said he believes he's healthy enough to practice, but team doctors are taking a cautious approach and have not yet cleared him.

''I feel I'm there now,'' he said. ''But they're going to probably hold me back and make sure everything is OK.''



Tennessee top draft pick Adam ''Pacman'' Jones missed a second straight day of training camp Saturday, and the team is starting to get impatient.

The Titans have publicly said they are determined to protect themselves in negotiating their contract with the cornerback picked sixth overall, the first defensive player taken in the draft.

Jones was arrested July 13 after turning himself in after an incident at a Nashville night club, and Robert Gaddy, a friend of Titans quarterback Steve McNair, has said he is thinking of dropping the charges.

But coach Jeff Fisher said general manager Floyd Reese seems a little frustrated.

''It appears he has a right to be frustrated,'' Fisher said. ''In his mind, he's done his part, and the ball's in their court, so we hope that we get something done quick. This is valuable time that he's missing.''

Agent Michael Huyghue said he thought they were working diligently to finish a deal and that he was disappointed the Titans were using the media to communicate.



New Orleans cornerback Mike McKenzie finally has the new contract he has sought since agreeing to be traded from Green Bay to the Saints last season.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Saturday that McKenzie and the Saints agreed to deal worth about $22 million for the next five seasons. It extends the length of McKenzie's current contract by three seasons and includes a $7 million signing bonus. It also includes incentives that could increase the value of the contract by $3 million over the final three seasons, Rosenhaus said.

McKenzie held out on Green Bay for the first five games of 2004 before being traded to New Orleans, where his five interceptions in 11 games led the team.

Entering his seventh season, McKenzie has 20 career interceptions.



New England agreed to contract extensions with linebacker Mike Vrabel and defensive end Jarvis Green. Both players confirmed Saturday that they have new five-year deals.

Vrabel, 29, already was signed through the 2007 season. The new deal replaces the remaining three years on his contract. Green, 26, would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

''I was able to come into this situation a couple of years ago from Pittsburgh and I was able to evolve into a player and have them want to keep me,'' said Vrabel, who left the Steelers as a free agent in 2001. ''I know I'll end up a Patriot.''

''For me,'' said Green, a fourth-round draft pick in 2002, ''it means I'm doing something right.''

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour held out for the second straight day Saturday, and coach Bill Belichick said there was no update.

''You don't need to ask the (Seymour) questions every day,'' Belichick said. ''If there is something (new) I will tell you right off the bat ... I have no news to report at this time.''



Seattle safety Michael Boulware, who set a franchise rookie record last season with five interceptions, was held out of an intrasquad workout during the afternoon practice after he hurt his right ankle in the morning.

The injury, described as a sore ankle, occurred when Boulware was in coverage on passing drills. He participated in afternoon position drills, then stood to watch the team portion of the workout.

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