Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

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Burress rips Eli, Coughlin in interview

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Plaxico Burress is critical of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning and fans for the way they reacted when he was sent to prison on a gun charge in the October issue of Men's Journal.

Burress said in an interview with the magazine a few weeks before he signed with the Jets in July that he wished Coughlin had shown some concern when he met with him after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in November 2008. He saw the Giants coach on television commenting on the situation "and the first words out his mouth was sad and disappointing.'"

"I'm like, forget support -- how about some concern?" Burress said. "I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."

He also told the magazine, which hits newsstands next week, that Coughlin is "not a real positive coach."

"You look around the league, the Raheem Morrises and Rex Ryans -- when their player makes a mistake, they take em to the side and say, We'll get em next time,'" Burress said. "But Coughlin's on the sideline going crazy, man. I can't remember one time when he tried to talk a player through not having a day he was having."

Burress said he was disappointed Manning never visited him or tried to communicate with him while he served his 20-month prison sentence.

"I was always his biggest supporter, even days he wasn't on, cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said. "Then I went away, and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter, in two years. I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."

Burress met with Coughlin and the Giants' front office when he was a free agent -- after the interview with the magazine -- and has maintained it was a pleasant conversation that helped clear the air between them. While the wide receiver didn't speak with Manning at that time, the two recently ran into each other at a movie theater and had what Burress said was a nice chat.

When asked about his comments in the magazine article, Burress said: "I was just being honest."

The article mentions how Burress was nearly robbed at his home in Totowa, N.J., a few days before the nightclub incident and how the murder of his friend and former Washington defensive back Sean Taylor helped shape his decision to carry a handgun -- and how he nearly left his gun in his car that night.

"I had a conscience about it -- but said, Nope, I'm takin' it with me,'" he said. "And that changed my life."

Burress talked about the way New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg treated him -- calling for the receiver to be punished to the fullest extent of the law -- "was totally wrong, stacked those charges so high, I had to go to jail."

While in prison, Burress said he was treated "like a ... axe murderer," and got many letters from people that were less than positive.

"I was a human pincushion," Burress said. "They were like, Yeah, we finally got you.'"

Burress said he now gets loads of positive letters from people, a complete change from what he was getting just a few months ago.

"It's like I'm more popular now for shooting myself than winning a Super Bowl!" he said. "Maybe they see a guy who made a mistake, but didn't hurt no one but himself. I mean, if you can't root for me, you must not own a mirror. All of us have made a big mistake, right?"

Joe Maddon updates injury status of Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks heading into Cardinals series

Joe Maddon updates injury status of Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks heading into Cardinals series

Kris Bryant will likely miss the first two games of this weekend's series against the St. Louis Cardinals and could miss the whole three-game set, according to Joe Maddon.

The Cubs manager said the reigning National League MVP will be sidelined as he recovers from a sore finger, injured when he slid head first into third base in the first inning of Wednesday's series-finale against the Atlanta Braves down in Georgia.

"He's just not ready today, but we're going to do this (as) a day-by-day thing," Maddon said. "I really don't know. If I had to guess, probably not tomorrow, too. And possibly on Sunday, but I really don't know.

"He healed well with the ankle, we did not expect that to come back very quickly and it did. So I'm just trying to not jump to conclusions right now."

"It's sore. It's just a soreness and he's got to grip the bat, and that's what it really comes down to."

The Cubs have suddenly closed within a game of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers after winning the first six games out of the All-Star break. Certainly losing Bryant for any time, no matter how brief, is a blow to the Cubs' lineup — and their rampage up the NL Central standings — but things could be way worse. A day-to-day situation is preferable to Bryant and his .401 on-base percentage heading for a lengthy stay on the disabled list.

Bryant's absence Friday meant right fielder Jason Heyward was at the top of the Cubs' lineup. It's just the third time Heyward has started in the leadoff spot since joining the Cubs. He was 0-for-7 in those two starts in June of last year.

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In addition to Bryant, there was an update of sorts on injured starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who could return to the rotation next week, per Maddon.

"More than likely next week, probably early next week. We're looking at that, but we're really not ready to make any other kinds of conclusions or announcements yet," Maddon said. "He's there. He's ready to rock n roll."

Hendricks' return to the rotation will be another shot in the arm for a starting staff that just received a huge upgrade in the form of Jose Quintana. Hendricks has been on the disabled list since June 8, when he went on the shelf with tendinitis in his right hand.

Hendricks logged 8.1 innings in two rehab starts with Double-A Tennessee recently, going 15 up, 15 down in his second outing. It sounds like he'll pitch in one of the four games against the White Sox next week.

Adding Hendricks and Quintana to a rotation featuring Jon Lester and an improving Jake Arrieta figures to make for a far different starting-pitching picture in the second half of the season following an inconsistent first half.

Will Cubs add another ace? Report says North Siders interested in Yu Darvish

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USA TODAY

Will Cubs add another ace? Report says North Siders interested in Yu Darvish

It's been a little more than a week since the Cubs altered the state of their pitching staff for years to come with that blockbuster crosstown swap that brought Jose Quintana to the North Side.

But are the Cubs looking to make another massive upgrade to their starting rotation before the trade deadline?

According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs are interested in Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

Now it might not make too much sense at first blush for the Cubs, who dealt away their top two minor leaguers in the trade for Quintana, to acquire another frontline starting pitcher, especially one who unlike Quintana will become a free agent at the end of the season. After all, if the Cubs do want Darvish in the long term, they can wait a few months and go after him in free agency, losing no assets but money in the process.

The Cubs' rotation, once Kyle Hendricks returns from the disabled list, also looks pretty set with Jon Lester, Quintana, Jake Arrieta, Hendricks and John Lackey the presumed quintet for the remainder of the regular season, barring any other injuries of course.

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But Morosi makes some points, even if they might be speculative ones, that make a trade for Darvish seem not so ridiculous. After all, the Cubs did so much for their future in acquiring Quintana that a rental like Darvish to power a second straight run to the World Series might not seem so risky.

And while the Cubs' rotation is looking good right now with the team winners of six straight since the All-Star break, it was perhaps the team's biggest problem during that sub-.500 first half. Arrieta and Hendricks both failed to replicate the consistency that made them two of baseball's best last season. And Lackey has struggled mightily, still the owner of 5.04 ERA and a guy who's given up the 25 homers, the second most in baseball.

If the National League Central race remains as tight as it is entering play today, with four teams within four and a half games of each other, perhaps adding an extra dominant starter would assure the top spot in the division, which could be the team's only path to the playoffs. Even after a six-game winning streak to start the second half, the Cubs are five and a half games back of the Colorado Rockies for the NL's second wild card spot.

There's no doubt Darvish has been very good this season for the Rangers, with a 3.45 ERA in 20 starts and 131 strikeouts in 125.1 innings pitched. He's a four-time All Star in his five-year major league career. Adding that to Lester and Quintana at the front of the rotation would make the Cubs a terrifying force for opposing teams.

But at the same time, what would it take to get him? Giving up zero major league talent was part of what made the Quintana trade so terrific for the Cubs. Losing a major league player would perhaps hurt the team's chances at a World Series win this season, which would be the whole point of acquiring Darvish in the first place.

It's trade season, so let the rumors keep flying.