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Jets WR Burress comes home early from charity-related trip

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Plaxico Burress cut short a charity trip so he could rejoin his New York Jets teammates as they prepare for their game against the Buffalo Bills.

The wide receiver had received permission from the Jets to do charity work in his hometown in Virginia on Monday, but he returned Monday night instead of Tuesday, as originally planned.

"I came back last night to catch up with as much as I can," Burress said. "Going into this week, we know it's a big game and they let me go out and fulfill my obligations, so I just tried to come back and do as much as I can for the week."

Coach Rex Ryan gave Burress permission to take the personal days "several months ago," and allowed the receiver to go forward with his plans even after the Jets changed their work schedule. New York (5-5) has lost two games in a row and faces struggling Buffalo (5-5) at home Sunday in a game both teams desperately want to win to keep up in the AFC playoff race.

"When I re-worked the schedule, he never asked me one way or the other," Ryan said. "I was not going to go back on my word. When I give a player my word that he can do some things or whatever, so be it."

Burress said he went to a high school in the Virginia Beach area and handed out turkeys and hams, and he also visited homeless shelters.

Despite returning to New Jersey on Monday night, Burress also missed practice Tuesday while he was at a New York school talking to students. He has a rewards program through his charity, which recognizes the top 17 students at Central Park East Middle School.

"I'll be bringing those kids to the game this weekend -- 17 of those kids -- and I donated 20 computers to the school," Burress said. "So it's just my way of recognizing and trying to encourage those kids in that community."

Burress, who's back in the NFL after serving 20 months in prison on a gun charge after accidentally shooting himself in 2008, had planned the events a few months ago. Typically, players have off Monday afternoons and Tuesdays, but the Jets played last Thursday night and have this Thursday off for Thanksgiving.

Burress is third on the Jets with 30 catches for 425 yards, but he leads the team with six touchdown catches.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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