"I just want to thank God for bringing me through one of the most trying times in my life," Burress said to reporters after being released from Oneida Correctional Facility in central New York on Monday morning. "It's a beautiful day. It's a beautiful day to be reunited with my family. I want to go home and spend some quality time with them."
He hugged and shook hands with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, before getting into a black Range Rover and heading for the Rome, N.Y., airport. Burress, 34, was expected to take a flight home to Florida to spend time with his wife and two children.
"He's learned an awful lot," Rosenhaus said. "He knows that he obviously made a mistake. To miss two NFL seasons in the prime of your career. To not be with your family, most importantly. To lose out on millions and millions of dollars. These are things that have forced him to certainly evaluate his life.”
Nine months after making the game-winning catch with 35 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLII, Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh with an unlicensed handgun he had tucked in the waistband of his pants at a Manhattan nightclub. He pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in August 2009 and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Now he's on parole for two years and is required to find and keep a job. His attorney, Peter M. Frankel, says Burress plans to work out while awaiting the end of the NFL labor dispute.
"He's going to be a top free agent," Rosenhaus said. "There are going to be multiple teams interested in signing him. I expect him to get a good contract. I expect him to absolutely be playing."
Burress said: "As far as football is concerned, if and when everything gets settled, when they get back on the field, I'll be ready."