See! He’s going to the Eagles!

We’re sure as Plaxico Burress left the Oneida County Correction Facility earlier this morning after serving 20 months in jail, he chose from a series of city-oriented hats on a table, similar to how a top high school recruit chooses his college. As his hand drifted over the St. Louis Cardinals hat, he abruptly shifted to the Phillies, drawing loud applause and hugs from the assembled prison guards.

Alright, that probably didn’t happen. Except for the hugs, and they weren’t from guards.

Burress was officially released from prison today at about 9 a.m. ET after pleading guilty and serving the required time for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. The former Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the leg at a club in November of 2008, and had his sentence reduced by three months because of good behavior.

The first hug for Burress was from his agent Drew Rosenhaus, and it came in bear hug form. This is much more aggressive than the shug, but not quite as intimate as the warm family embrace. We’ll look into this further later on today (no we won’t).

Burress spoke to the hoard of reporters briefly, and expressed emotions that are difficult for any of us to fathom. Burress’ punishment was short by prison sentence standards, but the time spent isolated and away from family undoubtedly made it seem much longer.

From ESPN:

“I just want to thank God for bringing me through one of the most trying times in my life. It’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day to be reunited with my family. I want to go home and spend some quality time with them.”

As far as football is concerned, Rosenhaus was eager to say that Burress will begin training and getting in shape for a comeback. He called Burress a “top free agent” and said all 32 teams are in play. Rosenhaus didn’t rule out a return to the Giants either, a team that many have pegged as a longshot in the Burress sweepstakes if a bidding war actually starts in earnest.

The Eagles, Rams, and Jets have commonly been mentioned among Burress’ top potential landing spots, with Michael Vick’s comeback often used as an example for a once elite player returning and being effective after a prison sentence. Of course, the primary difference between Vick and Burress is simple: age.

Burress has missed two seasons, and he’ll turn 34 in August. Vick also missed two seasons after serving time for dog fighting, but he was 28 years old when he was released, and he still needed a full season to shake off all the rust that had accumulated.

If Burress follows a similar path he’ll nearly be on the wrong side of 35 by the time he begins to look like the receiver who caught the championship-winning touchdown in 2008.

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