Oops, Plax Did it Again

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Like death, taxes and the Mets choking in September, Giants players and fans can count on one thing these days: Plaxico Burress is going to put himself ahead of the team and become a distraction.

Boy did he have TGI fooled. We defended him from jump, questioning and shooting holes in the theories resonating out of Pittsburgh that he was a bad apple; not the kind of guy you'd want in your locker room. All we saw was a guy playing through extreme pain and producing at a high level. Even the early histrionics when he didn't get the ball from Eli Manning seemed to have disappeared.

But that was then. This is now. What Burress, fresh off a nice, fat new contract extension, has become is nothing more than a distraction. Enough so that he isn't going to start the game against the Steelers due to missing treatments late last week. Here's a guy that went on and on about how excited he was to face off against his former team and how he had that little extra incentive to beat the club that let him sign elsewhere.

Plax cared so much about proving the Steelers organization wrong that he didn't even do enough to ensure his spot in the starting lineup for his big revenge game. Heck, if he can't put the team's biggest game of the season ahead of himself, what will he find worth sacrificing for?

Tom Coughlin, understandably, has seen enough – much more than enough at this point. While Coughlin might have looked the other way in years past, or slapped Plax on the wrist when a much harsher penalty was warranted, Coughlin won't let Plax's actions go on any longer. Quite simply, he can't. All the other players in the locker room realize that Burress was receiving preferential treatment and Coughlin runs the risk of alienating the other 52 guys – the ones that really, truly care – by turning the other cheek when Burress goes astray.

That's why it's safe to assume that he'll be fined/suspended/etc. plenty more times this season – all the way until the Giants can no longer take it and ship him out, a la Jeremy Shockey.

This latest of Burress' countless transgressions reportedly almost led to another suspension. Seems Burress missed several treatment sessions last week. Yup, here's a guy that's being paid a ton, just got away with lambasting his coach on the sideline and is injured, yet he can't seem to find the time to make it to Giants Stadium to attempt to expedite his return to full health?

Burress has already been suspended for his actions earlier this season when he was shelved for the team's bye week and game against Seattle. Last week he was fined $45,000 by the league office for several infractions in last week's game.

And you better believe that the Giants coaching staff aren't the only ones growing tired of Burress' act. His teammates, who have basically defended him to the hilt to date, are no longer willing to watch him get away with murder while they are all held to the same set of rules that are supposed to apply to Plax as well.

Listen, we're not advocating flat-out releasing Burress. He's just too damn good, and he knows it, which is the majority of the problem here. But Coughlin and Co. – or perhaps his influential leadership council – needs to come down on Burress hard and make him realize just how selfish his actions have been – and to let him know they will no longer be tolerated in any way, shape or form.

The problem is how to achieve that. Heck, when he was suspended from the Seahawks game, Plax couldn't even find it in his busy schedule to watch the whole game. In his words, he only saw some of the contest. And this isn't a matter of an injured player being unable to stomach watching his teammates in battle without him. This is more a matter of a guy that apparently just doesn't care all that much. That much he's proven by his recent actions.

What exactly to do with number 17 is the $64,000 question. But the answer to it may hold the key to whether or not these Giants make it back to the Super Bowl to defend their title.

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