The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made contact with free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress to gauge his offseason progress, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The conversation was explained as exploratory and that the call focused mainly on Burress' well-being.
The Buccaneers declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.
Burress' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said two teams have called to express interest in Burress, but in an interview with NFL.com this week at the Spring Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he declined to disclose the teams.
The New York Jets are reportedly the other team that has inquired about the former Super Bowl MVP, who was released by the New York Giants this winter amid legal issues stemming from a felony weapons charge in New York. Jets owner Woody Johnson told the New York Daily News that he would not impede the signing of Burress if general manager Mike Tannenbaum were to try and sign him.
Burress' legal situation -- and likely further punishment from the NFL -- will be a major factor in determining whether he will be signed and will play this season. Burress has a June court date for illegal firearm possession and is facing 3 ½ years in jail after shooting himself in the thigh on Nov. 29 at a night club with an unlicensed gun.
Burress, who caught the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII against New England, did not play again following the incident after being suspended by the Giants, with whom he'd had a history of disciplinary issues.
The Buccaneers and Jets are in need of wide receiver help, especially New York, which released Laveranues Coles this offseason. Coles signed with Cincinnati. The Bucs re-signed Mark Clayton, placed the franchise tag on wideout Antonio Bryant, and traded for tight end Kellen Winslow, but Burress would provide a major boost to Tampa Bay's red-zone passing game.
The Jets and Buccaneers spent first-round draft picks on quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman, respectively, and could help their development by adding as much veteran receiver help as possible.