When the Giants suspended Plaxico Burress, their rationale was that shooting yourself and getting arrested for illegal firearm possession constituted conduct detrimental to the team. The swiftness and harshness of their response seemed to signal a permanent end of the relationship between player and team, especially given Burress' already long list of team fines and suspensions. Before the shooting there was a chance the Giants would have gone forward without the talented receiver, but after it seemed like a done deal.
It was surprising, then, to read GM Jerry Reese's comments Wednesday that indicated Burress could return to the team next season "provided he plays by the Giants rules." Oh, and provided that he isn't serving time in prison. Clear those two rather large hurdles and there was a blue future for Burress.
The thing that doesn't make sense is that Reese also said the Giants may have been culpable in Burress' behavior because they enabled it by fining him and then treating him just the same as before. Assuming he meant that as a bad thing, why would they turn around and do it again after finally taking a step to remove Burress from the team?
Sure, there's a chance Burress turns into a good soldier, chastened by this whole experience. It's happened before, although it usually takes a change of scenery to really take effect. That's not the style of leadership that Reese and, especially, Tom Coughlin have been using to run the team, though. Players who don't buy into the team aren't welcome as part of it, with Burress' continued employment the lone, glaring exception.
The only reason Reese could be leaving the door open in case the Giants lose a game this January because Eli Manning doesn't have a big play receiver to provide what Burress provided last January. To bring him back would be to go beyond enabling to encouraging bad behavior so long as the team benefits from your talent. That would be the wrong choice for the Giants and, if they're sincere about helping him turn a corner, Burress.