Put On Your PR Cap, It’s the Oldest Trick In the Book

Plaxico Burress was released from prison today after serving 20 months for carrying a concealed handgun in New York.

He and agent Drew Rosenhaus believe he can still be a productive NFL player, despite the fact that he’s 34-years old, hasn’t played a down of pro football in three years, and the NFL kinda doesn’t exist at the moment.

No matter––potential landing spots for Burress are already being hypothesized. I agree with Peter King and think he would be a great fit with the Browns, but apparently that sentiment does not flow both ways. That’s because Burress has already tipped his cap at where he’s hoping to wind up.

The cap move is quickly becoming the oldest trick in the pro athletes’ guide to public relations. Chapter 5 on subliminal messaging carefully outlines how athletes can use their wardrobe to say what’s on their mind, while maintaining a humble and politically correct persona they need to be marketable.

In his first public appearance since being incarcerated, Plax verbally thanked God for getting him through, “one of the toughest times in my life.”

However, the Phillies baseball cap on his head appeard to suggest something less modest––and it’s genius right? He can’t just blurt out which team he wants to play for, especially five minutes fresh out of the joint. But he’s a vain pro athlete, he has to say something, he can’t just say nothing, can he?

Other instances of this phenomenon in society include:

LeBron James
Everyone thought LeBron was a humble and honorable individual; mature beyond his years and “chosen” to finally deliver a championship to the city of Cleveland. Yet in 2007, he wore the opposing team’s cap while attending the first playoff game Cleveland hosted for a team other than the Cavs in his tenure.

Subliminal message? “I’m better than all of you, I’m actually a spoiled jerk, and if you think this is embarrassing wait until I hit free agency.”

Terrelle Pryor
One of the greatest recruits in the history of the Ohio State Football program; a remarkable athlete who never lost to Michigan. Yet, after being handed a 5-game suspension for selling OSU memorabilia for “tattoos,” he was seen wearing a Miami Heat cap while warming up for the Sugar Bowl.  

Subliminal message? “I’m not sorry about anything, I like a guy everyone hates because I’m a jerk too, and I won’t care when this entire program goes up in flames.”

And now Plaxico
Philadelphia took a chance on Michael Vick after he was released from prison, so they would appeal to Burress as an organization with a history of helping embattled stars regain their footing in the NFL. Michael Vick would fit the mold of an ideal mentor for Burress too: a cool, older star who went to prison, but paid his dues, and gets to be a famous athlete all over again.

The Eagles offense also presents a great opportunity in Plaxico’s mind. Tons of passes and stats to go around, and with multiple weapons at receiver, nobody gets double teamed or relegated to down-field decoy, ala Randy Moss.

But the biggest reason Burress has his eye on the City of Brotherly Love? Philadelphia is a major east coast market, and they have a good team. The time has come to get back to being popular and rich. Just because a guy shoots himself in the leg and has to go to prison for two years doesn’t mean he can’t have his cake and eat it too.

Are the Jacksonville Jaguars interested in Burress? Doesn’t matter, Plaxico is better than those chumps. His subliminal message?

“Even though I’m old and out of shape, I feel I should play for the most exciting offense in the league immediately, and we should be on Monday Night Football every week.”

Sounds good to me, the NFL needs new stories and the Philadelphia Jailbird Eagles would be a good one (we’ll just pretend the Raiders, Bengals, Redskins, Jets, Cowboys and Ravens didn’t already try it).

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