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Burress aims to 'make a difference' with anti-violence programs

Plaxico Burress will work with the National Urban League and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence after spending nearly two years in prison on a weapon possession charge.

The 33-year-old former New York Giants receiver said Monday he will be mentored by Magic Johnson and Tony Dungy through the Brady Center. He'll volunteer at Urban League youth programs and recruit other pro athletes.

Referring to guns, Burress said: "My voice here today is that they don't help anybody."

Burress, speaking at the Urban League headquarters on Wall Street, said he would tell other players: "If you're going to carry a weapon, make sure you've done everything properly, that you're obeying all the laws or the rules of that state, and you know fully how to operate the weapon if you choose to carry one."

*The Star-Ledger* reported that Burress told the crowd: "I no longer own a firearm. I no longer carry."

Burress caught the winning touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl. Nine months later, his unlicensed handgun accidentally went off in a Manhattan nightclub, striking his thigh.

"I'm a champion on the field, and my goal is to be a champion in life and off the field," Burress said.

He was released from prison last Monday. Burress hopes to play in the NFL again, and his agent has spoken with several teams.

"I'm eager and excited about the next step, not knowing where it will be," he said. "I'm dedicated to change and just being a better person."

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Dungy, the retired Indianapolis Colts coach, recalled that at the first meeting of every training camp, he would ask how many players owned weapons. As many as 90 percent would raise their hands.

"That's the society we live in," he said. "They feel they have to get a gun to protect themselves or because everyone else is doing it. That doesn't need to be the situation."

*The Star-Ledger* reported that Dungy spoke about the upside of Burress' time in jail.

"You hate to say it was a good experience, but it was a fruitful experience," Dungy said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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