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Burress says he and Coughlin were chilly; warms to idea of Jets

To hear Plaxico Burress talk Monday, it sounds like a return to the New York Giants isn't very likely due to an icy relationship with coach Tom Coughlin.

The former Giants wide receiver, who was released from prison last week after serving 20 months following a conviction for carrying an unlicensed gun, termed his relationship with Coughlin as "ambivalent," but he said he's intrigued by possibly playing for the Jets, during a wide-ranging interview with ESPNNewYork.

"My situation in New York, me and my coach had an ambivalent relationship to say the least," Burress said in New York after holding a press conference to promote gun safety. "Some things that I didn't agree with, with the way he went about things. And the only way to show my way was to just rebel. Is that who I am? No.

"That was one of the biggest problems when I left Pittsburgh when I came here. I had a relationship with (former Steelers coach) Bill Cowher inside of football and outside of football. He always had an open-door policy to where you could come talk to him or tell him what was on your mind. When that was taken away from me, I kind of felt it was like: I'm the coach, you are the player. It doesn't matter what you have to say. You just do what I tell you to do.

"This is not college. This is professional sports. If you can't sit down and go talk to a man that you are busting your tail for, not even have the respect for anything that you have to say, like I said, the only thing I knew then was to rebel."

Coughlin wished Burress well after playing in a Giants Foundation charity golf tournament on Monday, but said the team has not discussed whether or not it would attempt to re-sign the free agent once the lockout ends.

"I wish Plaxico and his family nothing but the best. I would hope some form of normalcy would come back to their lives," Coughlin told the *New York Daily News* Monday. "He had a child born while he was incarcerated, those things, I cannot imagine what his wife went through," Coughlin continued. "But I hope that they have a chance to have some normalcy to their lives, Plaxico gets a chance to get reacquainted with his kids. I am sincere in that."

Debate: Where will Plaxico play?

We asked seven experts to predict which team will sign Plaxico Burress, and they all had different answers, ranging from the Giants to the Rams to the Seahawks.

General manager Jerry Reese also would not rule out a return by Burress, whom teammates have said they'd like to have back.

"We'll investigate it just like every free agent that hits the market," Reese told the Daily News. "We'll do our homework and see if it makes sense for the Giants and how it fits for the Giants."

Burress, 33, finds the Jets, who have reached the AFC Championship Game the past two seasons, an enticing prospect for winning his second Super Bowl title after helping the Giants stun the previously undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

"It's been thought about," Burress said. "I am not going to sit here and front. For me to go from one side to the other side and win a championship in the same (city), how many people have done that? And do I have the capability to lead a team to a championship? Without question."

Burress said several Giants teammates, including Brandon Jacobs, Michael Strahan, Amani Toomer, David Tyree, Osi Umenyiora and Gibril Wilson, and Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch visited him in prison, but Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning did not.

"Would I have liked (Manning) to come see me? Yeah," Burress said. "But I understand, he is a family man. He just had a baby. Congratulations."

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