"We have to hope Plaxico Burress gets out of all the issues he has going on there legally," Jacobs said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "If he can get out of that, we can bring him back, and I think that is basically all we need, to be honest with you."
Burress' future very likely will be decided in a New York court room in about one month. Burress, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl one year ago, faces felony charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the wake of a nightclub shooting in November in which he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with a handgun.
A conviction could result in a prison sentence ranging from 3½ to 15 years.
Jacobs, who was rewarded for putting together consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, has exchanged text messages with Burress and is convinced that the wide receiver expects to be back with the Giants next season.
"If he can get out of this situation that he is in, everybody prays and hopes that he doesn't go to jail, and then the sky is the limit for him," Jacobs said. "He has cleaned up, no organization problems, no off-the-field problems, none of that would be happening with him again.
"I don't see any of that happening because he knows how close he came to losing everything he has," Jacobs added. "I think his mind is right now, and he is ready to get back out there and perform like he had been doing."
Burress, who was suspended for the final four games of the regular season in the wake of the shooting, remains under contract to the Giants. The team has left the door open for Burress' return, pending the outcome of his legal problems. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 31.
There is no doubt that Burress' absence changed the Giants. Teams had to play a safety deep to protect against him, and New York had no one to replace him.
The signing of Jacobs to the four-year contract that has $13 million in guarantees probably means the Giants will not re-sign fellow free agent Derrick Ward, who also rushed for 1,000 yards last season.
The two running backs talked Wednesday night.
"We had been talking for a long time about money and so on and so forth, and it has finally happened for me, and his time is coming," Jacobs said. "I said, 'Just keep doing what you are doing, make sure you have some good people working for you and make sure you get every dollar you deserve.'"
The Giants placed a franchise tag on Jacobs earlier this month, guaranteeing that he would make $6.6 million this season. He's guaranteed $15 million in the first two years of his new contract.
"I just wanted to get it over with and have it not be hanging around," Jacobs said of the contract. "I didn't miss out on that much, though. I kind of got everything I wanted guaranteed, so I didn't really miss out on that much on the back end. A couple dollars here and there, but it was fine."
Jacobs said his knee, which caused him to miss three games last season, is fine. Entering his fifth NFL season, Jacobs said he hopes to play another six years.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press