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NFL fines Giants' Burress $45,000 ahead of return to Pittsburgh

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was fined $45,000 by the NFL for verbally abusing an official and tossing a ball into the stands during last weekend's game against San Francisco.

Burress was fined $20,000 for comments to head linesman Phil McKinnely after the official called him for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second quarter, and $20,000 for inappropriate comments after the game on the officiating.

McKinnely had called Burress for offensive pass interference against cornerback Nate Clements on the previous play. After the next play, Burress drew the unsportsmanlike penalty for some choice remarks to the officials.

Burress was assessed another $5,000 fine for throwing a ball into the stands after catching a touchdown in the third quarter.

Burress was suspended by the Giants for one game earlier this season for missing a team meeting on Sept. 22, a decision that cost him $117,500. He has admitted to being fined 20 to 30 times by the team for violating team rules since joining them in 2005.

The nine-year veteran returned to practice Friday after missing two days of work with a sore shoulder and stiff neck. He said he would be ready to play against the Steelers this weekend in his return to Pittsburgh.

"I had a full day of practice, no limitations, so I am ready to go," Burress said. "I have 48 hours to get ready for the game and I should be back to close to 100 percent."

Burress spoke before the league disclosed his fine.

Burress, who was hurt in last weekend's 29-17 win over San Francisco, has been listed as probable for his first game against the Steelers, who drafted him in the first round in 2000. He signed with the Giants as a free agent after the '04 season.

In the two games since his suspension, Burress has caught seven passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. He blamed the lack of production on a combination of things, noting that Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon have benefited from the attention he is getting.

"Teams are not just going to let me line up on the backside and play one on one and say, 'Try to go out and stop me,' " he said.

Burress also downplayed his return to Pittsburgh.

"I just want to go in and be as good as I can on Sunday, make some plays, hopefully score a few, and get the win," Burress said. "For myself, I am four years removed from that place and I have moved on and they have, too. We have been able to win a championship and they have, too, so it is going to be a tough game for us."

The biggest concern for the Giants and Burress might be the condition of Heinz Field. Rutgers and Pittsburgh are scheduled to play there Saturday with rain in the forecast.

"I don't expect the field to be good at all," Burress said. "They have maybe a couple high school games and a college game on Saturday and us on Sunday. I told some of the guys just play at a speed where you are under control, but try to be as fast as you can, but under control. It is one of those things where you have to kind of stay off your toes."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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