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If you watch the ads that the NFL runs during commercial breaks, its players are a bunch of benevolent behemoths who spend their spare time playing games with children, rescuing kittens, and working for world peace. What the NFL does not advertise is that some of its non-benevolent behemoths spend their spare time engaged in mayhem, armed and unarmed.

The latest example of the armed variety comes courtesy of New York Giant’s wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who has not played much this year, but distinguished himself by catching the pass that won Super Bowl XLII. In the early morning hours of11/29, while at a nightclub, Burress shot himself in the leg with a .40 Glock handgun which was not legally his. (A question for Glock owners: How do you shoot yourself with one except by a long, deliberate pull on the semi-hideous trigger?)

Neither the New York Giants nor the Weill Cornell Medical Center, which treated Burress, called the cops, who learned about the shooting from news reports. However, the beans were eventually spilled and now everyone is making outraged noises, especially Mayor Bloomberg, who is beside himself. Burress is facing two felony gun charges, each of which carries a fine and jail time of 3 /12 to 15 years.

Looks grim for Plaxico, right? Well, here’s what I predict will happen: His trial date is March 31, which gives everyone 4 months in which to work out a deal. Burress will not serve a day in prison. His felonies will be bargained down to misdemeanors. He will pay a fine and do community service. He will be traded to another team. He will not be a convicted felon. Mayor Bloomberg will not have a thing to say.

On the other hand, if Burress had dropped that pass, he would now be arguing with his Attica cellmate over who should take the top bunk.