NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was released from prison on Monday after serving 20 months on gun charges and the 2008 Super Bowl hero hopes to return to play in the National Football League (NFL).

Burress, 33, left Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York three months early for good behavior after pleading guilty to gun possession charges from a Manhattan nightclub incident in which he accidentally shot himself in the thigh.

"I just want to thank God for bringing me through one of the most trying times in my life," Burress told the New York Post as he left the prison.

"It's a beautiful day, it's a beautiful day to get to be reunited with my family and go home for some quality time with them."

The 6-foot-5-inch (1.96-meter) Burress caught the game-winning pass in the last minute of New York's 17-14 upset of the unbeaten New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Burress, who was released by the Giants following the November 2008 shooting incident, would be an NFL free agent.

The lanky receiver, who began his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, must wait for the labor dispute between NFL owners and players to be resolved before he can market his talents, which his agent has made plain he intends to do.

Taken in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the eighth overall pick by the Steelers out of Michigan State University, Burress has 55 touchdown catches on his NFL resume.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Clare Fallon)