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Burress will appeal suspension from Giants for breaking team rule

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress was suspended for one game by the New York Giants on Wednesday for missing a workout earlier in the week. His agent insisted the receiver had an undisclosed family emergency and will appeal the ban to the NFL Players Association.

Because the unbeaten Giants have a bye this weekend, Burress will miss the Oct. 5 game against Seattle if the suspension is upheld.

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The Giants refused to say why Burress was suspended, but agent Drew Rosenhaus claimed the nine-year veteran did not attend Monday's workout because of a family emergency that has now been resolved.

The suspension took effect immediately, meaning Burress will not be allowed to return to team activities until the day after the Seahawks game. He will miss two paychecks, totaling $235,294.12 of his $2 million annual base salary.

Rosenhaus said that Burress spoke with Giants special assistant Charles Way on Monday evening, but he added there was "miscommunication" between the player and the team.

When asked specifically why Burress did not telephone the team Monday to discuss the absence, Rosenhaus avoided answering the question.

"Again we're acknowledging that there should be some repercussion, but not to the extent where he is denied his right to perform his livelihood to play," Rosenhaus said in a conference call. "We think it is very serious and not very common, but there are things that do take place in the NFL that you could say are worse and have not led to suspension."

Rosenhaus said the NFLPA has not advised him when an arbitrator would hear the appeal, but he hopes Burress is back in the lineup for the Seattle game.

"I hope we can get this worked out and get back out on the practice field and back to playing football for the Giants. That's where he belongs," Rosenhaus said.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the Super Bowl champions were making a loud and clear statement about being responsible.

"We have had success here because of the team concept," Coughlin said after practice Wednesday. "And the team concept means basically that everyone is accountable and responsible and that we don't let the other guys down. And that is what we are trying to do."

Coughlin insisted that the suspension will not be a distraction.

"This is a team that is focused and displayed mental toughness and they will do the same thing with regard to this."

Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese informed Burress of the suspension Wednesday morning before the team held practice.

"I think he was very surprised and very, very disappointed," Rosenhaus said of Burress' reaction to the suspension. "I spoke with him immediately after his meeting. ... He certainly did not anticipate his conduct would lead to him being suspended."

Burress was not immediately available for comment. He was off to a great start this season with a team-high 18 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown.

"It is something we just have to deal with and move on," quarterback Eli Manning said. "That is what our focus is, get ready for Seattle and try to get a win there."

Burress has had other problems with the Giants since signing as a free agent in 2005. He was benched for the opening quarter against San Diego early in 2005 for being late for a meeting. He said his wife was pregnant and he went with her for a test.

Burress was upset this summer after the Giants refused to negotiate his contract after the Super Bowl. He refused to practice during a mandatory minicamp in June and was fined $42,000. The Giants signed Burress to a two-year contract extension just before the opener that will bump his salary into the $7 million range over the next five years. The deal included $11 million in guaranteed money that will be paid this season.

Burress then caught 10 catches for 133 yards in a 16-7 win over Washington.

Burress caught the winning 13-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the Giants' 17-14 win over the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And despite playing on a sprained right ankle all last season, Burress had a team-high 70 receptions for 1,025 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns. He added 18 catches for 221 yards during the postseason.

Burress caught 209 passes for 3,227 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Giants, with all the touchdowns being thrown by Manning.

Wide receiver is one of the Giants' deepest positions. In addition to Burress, there's Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, Domenik Hixon and rookie Mario Manningham.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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