Burress Charged; Teammate, Hospital Eyed

By  | 

NEW YORK - Taken to court in handcuffs, Plaxico Burress posted $100,000 bail on weapons possession charges Monday as the frenzy grew around the Giants star receiver who accidentally shot himself in a nightclub.

Authorities said teammate Antonio Pierce was being investigated over his role in the weekend shooting, while the Super Bowl-champion Giants weren't sure what action they would take, if any, against Burress. The NFL said it was monitoring developments. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also weighed in, saying it would be an outrage "if we didn't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

Burress shot himself in the right thigh in the VIP section of the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan about 1 a.m. Saturday, police said. He did not have a permit to carry a handgun in New York.

A witness reported hearing a popping sound before Burress' legs began to shake, according to a criminal complaint. It said the person saw a bloody pistol fall out of his pant leg and land on the floor before Burress said "Take me to a hospital."

It's believed Pierce took Burress to a car and then left with him, according to police. Burress was treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and released later Saturday.

Burress was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, which could result in a prison sentence of 3½ years to 15 years if he is convicted. He was not required to enter a plea Monday and is due back in court on March 31. Burress did not say anything in court.

Originally, police had said that running back Derrick Ward was with Burress and Pierce at the club, relying on information given to them from security guards at the bar. But police said later that it was unclear if Ward was at the club, and the running back denied that he was.

The Giants have not decided what to do with Burress, who was suspended for a game and fined earlier this season for missing a team meeting in September. New York could either suspend him again or deactivate him for Sunday's game at home against the Eagles. There are more extreme actions, such as releasing Burress, but that could put a strain on the team's salary cap next season.

"We're dealing with that," coach Tom Coughlin said in a conference call Monday. "Today we had some discussions and those discussions will be ongoing."

Coughlin would not speculate what the team would do if Burress showed up for practice Wednesday.