Burress begins 2-year sentence

Former Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress apologized to his family and tearfully kissed his pregnant wife and young son goodbye Tuesday before he was led away to prison to begin serving a two-year sentence on a weapons charge.

Burress, at the time a star receiver with the New York Giants, was at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan in November when a gun tucked into his waistband slipped down his leg and fired, wounding him in the thigh.

Burress arrived in the New York courtroom Tuesday wearing jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt. He was accompanied by his pregnant wife, Tiffany; his 2-year-old son, Elijah; his father, grandmother and stepmother.

Burress told Judge Michael Melkonian before sentencing: “I want to apologize to my family.” They did not speak to reporters as they left the courthouse.

With time off for good behavior, Burress likely will serve 20 months. He could be released from prison as early as the spring of 2011 and will be monitored an additional two years after he is freed.

Burress’ big moment with the Giants came when he caught the winning touchdown against the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the final minute of the 2008 Super Bowl.

The Giants released Burress in April, but the 32-year-old told ESPN he hopes to resume his NFL career when he completes his sentence.

“When I get out, I’ll be 33, not 43,” Burress said in an interview broadcast in August. “I’ll still be able to run and catch. I’ll still have the God-given ability to snag footballs; that’s what I love to do. Of course, I want to play again.”

Cassel still the man in K.C. – for now

Matt Cassel will remain Kansas City’s starting quarterback when the Chiefs face the Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia, Chiefs coach Todd Haley said.

But the rookie head coach also said he would not hesitate to make a switch if he decided backup Brodie Croyle gives the winless Chiefs a better chance.

Croyle started the Chiefs’ season opener in place of the injured Cassel and hit 16 of 24 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in a loss at Baltimore.

On Sunday, Cassel was 24-of-39 passing for 241 yards, one TD and two interceptions in a home loss to Oakland.

Short yardage

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jermaine Phillips will miss the remainder of the season with a broken left thumb. … The St. Louis Rams signed wide receiver Danny Amendola off the Eagles’ practice squad. Wide receiver Derek Stanley was waived to make room for Amendola. … The Dallas Cowboys are discussing a limit on standing-room ticket sales after some tense moments with the biggest regular-season crowd in NFL history. There were about 30,000 people with standing-room tickets during Sunday night’s game. … The New England Patriots obtained linebacker Prescott Burgess from the Ravens for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. … Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, Giselle Bundchen, were sued for $1 million over alleged gunshots fired at photographers covering a party in Costa Rica.