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Steelers' Burress suffers possible career-ending injury

Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress tears his rotator cuff in practice Thursday ending his season and possibly his NFL career
Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress tears his rotator cuff in practice Thursday ending his season and possibly his NFL career
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Plaxico Burress made a comeback in 2012 by signing back up to be a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Burress' story has been one of ups and downs during his time in the NFL. During Thursday's training camp practice, Burress went down hard and had to be carted off the field. It's another injury in an already plagued Steelers system. Although Burress was in position to be a third-down threat and the fourth or fifth receiver on the roster, his NFL career is now in jeopardy.

The Steelers drafted Burress eighth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. In his first five-year stint with the Steelers, Burress collected 261 receptions for 4,164 yards, and 22 touchdowns. Burress notched his first 1,000 year season in 2001, garnering 1,008 yards on 66 receptions. Notably, Burress' best season with Pittsburgh was in 2002, when he had a career-high 78 receptions for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns. In November of 2002, Burress set a Steelers franchise record with 253 receiving yards in a 34-34 tie game against the Atlanta Falcons. Stopped a mere yard from the goal-line, Burress nearly won the game for the team.

Reportedly Burress suffered a torn rotator cuff during a play against defensive backs Ryan Steed and Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith. When he hit the ground, he landed on his right shoulder and was later seen wearing a sling. Due to his age (36 on Monday), many are of the opinion that Burress may not be able to come back from the injury this season. Some are describing the injury as the end of his NFL career.

Burress had been mentoring younger players in camp. On Wednesday, Burress told the press, "With what I've learned in this business and going through it and knowing what it's about and having the dreams and aspirations we all come in with as young players, I've been fortunate enough to live them all out." It almost sounds like Burress could see the writing on the wall about his fate following the 2013 season. His presence in camp has been important to Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and young guys like third-round selection Markus Wheaton.

There was little room for Burress, who just wanted to put one more year into the game. With the injury, he'll not only lose a step, but an opportunity. Richard Mann, the Steelers' wide receivers coach, gave praise to Burress for adjusting to remain competitive. Now he'll have to look for answers as to who will take Burress' place.

The Steelers face their first pre-season game against the New York Giants on Saturday, and Burress won't be there for one last hurrah.

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