HOOVER, Ala. -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress took exception to Alabama coach Nick Saban's remarks Wednesday at SEC Media Days that he's concerned about the distraction NFL draft feedback can be to players preparing for a bowl game.
Burress played for Saban at Michigan State, and clearly has a bad taste in his mouth about Saban's departure from MSU to LSU after the 1999 season.
Burress' reference to "the duf", presumably, is the Duffy Daugherty Building, which houses Michigan State football operations.
While Burress' rant is certainly heating up the social-media arena, it wasn't exactly on point. Regardless of how Saban's exit was handled or received by the Spartans, the coach has always maintained a guideline by which he encourages players to turn pro early if they are projected as a first-round pick. For those not projected as a first-round pick, Saban encourages another year of college to improve their draft status. And while Burress was eventually a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, that doesn't mean he was projected as one after the season.
Feedback for the NFL draft isn't always on target, and Burress isn't alone. In December 2008, Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson was projected as a second-round pick, and Saban recommended he stay in school to improve his stock. Jackson turned pro early anyway, and was the No. 20 overall pick of the Houston Texans in 2009. This year, Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said his feedback from the NFL recommended that he return to school. Humphries declared for the draft anyway, and was a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals.
Saban and Burress have something of a history, if not a pleasant one.
For years, Saban has maintained a policy that freshmen aren't permitted to speak with the media. The genesis of that policy? None other than Plaxico Burress, who said a little too much for Saban's liking one year prior to playing against rival Michigan.
Call it the Plaxico Rule.
And chalk this dust-up to some old feelings that have died hard.