Plaxico Burress wants to help others avoid pitfalls

Plaxico Burress is anxious to continue his NFL career as soon as the lockout ends.

He also wants to help others avoid some of the pitfalls that led to him serving nearly two years in state prison. Burress appeared at the National Urban League in Manhattan this morning to promote, among other things, safety. Burress spoke about the dangers of carrying firearms and signed a pledge to join the National Urban League Celebrity Empowerment Challenge.

I no longer own a firearm in my home, and I don’t carry one,” Burress said, according to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger. “With that, not owning one and not carrying one, I know I put myself in a better position in life and with safety and with the people in the community.

“Look at my situation. Ever since I was 7 years old, I thought of playing football, back in 1984, and my goal was to be an NFL player and accomplish great things – win a Super Bowl and things like that. And I made a bad decision, and it can all be taken away from you so quick, literally in the blink of an eye. You have to be cognizant of every decision that you make and every decision you make poses a consequence. And with that being said, you have to make the right choice.”

Also appearing with Burress was Tony Dungy, who has worked in mentoring Burress. The wide receiver said he hopes other athletes and celebrities will join him.

“When I came here this morning, when I took this podium, I didn’t have a script, I didn’t have anything written down. I came to speak from the heart. I think that says enough in itself,” Burress said. “My next step is to serve a purpose. I’ve done it to a certain extent, but there’s more that can be done.”

Burress had a lot of time to think about his mistake – carrying a loaded gun into a Manhattan night club – while in jail. Then, he began to think about what he could do moving forward, how he could be better each day. If he can follow through with this plan, perhaps he can reach some kids and young adults and perhaps they will think twice about making similar mistakes.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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