NFL NOTES: Plaxico pleads out to weapons charge, 2-year prison term

ALBANY, N.Y. — Roughly 18 months after Plaxico Burress caught the game-winning pass in the Super Bowl and nine months after accidentally shooting himself in a Manhattan night club, he pleaded guilty in a New York City court on Thursday to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

Burress, who faced a minimum of 31/2 years in prison if convicted at trial, instead agreed to a two-year prison term and must serve at least 20 months. Burress, who was released by the Giants in April, will be formally sentenced on Sept. 22.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Burress on Thursday afternoon, informing him that he is ineligible to sign with any team until he completes his jail term. Burress will be reinstated upon the completion of his sentence, the league said.

Steelers QB carted off

LATROBE, Pa. — Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his right ankle or foot during the last half-hour of the team’s final training camp practice. It was not immediately certain how badly he was hurt. Roethlisberger had an ice pack on the back of the ankle when he was carted off at the end of practice.

Ochocinco for uno

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati’s all-time leader in catches and yards receiving, kicked an extra point after the Bengals’ first-half touchdown Thursday. Coach Marvin Lewis held out kicker Shayne Graham as a precaution because of a groin injury.

Brees back

HOUSTON — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees returned to practice Thursday, for the first time since his mother’s funeral.

Ex-players sue NFL

MINNEAPOLIS — NFL Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea and five other players sued the league for using their names and images for profit without their permission.

The players filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday in federal district court in Minneapolis. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of exploiting retired players’ identities in films, highlight reels and memorabilia to market the league’s “glory days” without compensating the players.

“It’s really turned into a big property,” said Bob Stein, a lawyer for the players.

How much former players are owed is unclear, Stein said. But the lawsuit suggests the amount exceeds $5 million.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had no comment because the league has not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

The other players listed in the suit are Jim Marshall, Ed White, Joe Senser, Fred Dryer and Dan Pastorini.

Stein, who played in the NFL for seven years, said other retired players approached him when they saw their names and images in NFL Films videos and other material used today by the league.

“A couple of my old teammates (were) asking me if when we played, we gave the league the right to use any kind of publicity forever,” he said.

Stein expects to add more players to the class-action suit. Many former players struggle financially and continue to deal with injuries they suffered during their playing days, he said.

“I can tell you the motivation of the action and the representatives are to try and help everybody,” he said. “What form that takes, I don’t know yet and no one would know.”

In June, a group of more than 2,000 retirees won a $26.25 million settlement with the NFL Players Association over the use of their likenesses in video games, trading cards and other sports products. The retirees sued in 2007, accusing the union of failing to actively pursue marketing deals for such products.

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