Muscle Sport Magazine

Troubled WR Santonio Holmes Worth the Gamble for the Jets

The 2010 fifth round pick notwithstanding, the New York Jets are taking a huge gamble by bringing in Santonio Holmes to ‘Camp Chemistry,’ otherwise known as Rex Ryan’s locker room. What seemed like the most functional bunch in the National Football League last season has to accept a player than ran himself out of Pittsburgh a little over a year after being named the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XLIII.

In fact, it was reported that the Steelers were ready to release Holmes if they couldn’t work out a trade with anyone. The 2006 first-round pick out of Ohio State fell out of favor with a domestic violence incident his rookie season and his 2008 arrest for marijuana possession. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin benched the 26-year-old wideout but he allowed him back on the field, which eventually paid off for both parties during the postseason.

In March, Holmes was once again in the news for the wrong reason when a woman accused him of throwing a glass at her at an Orlando nightclub, in which she sustained a physical injury. A lawsuit is pending.

Holmes was facing a suspension from the league for violating the substance abuse policy and the Steelers hierarchy had enough. Enter the Jets. “We discussed it as a staff and did some research,” said Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. “Then obviously we were able to come up with something that hopefully works well for us and Pittsburgh.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Holmes for the first four games of the upcoming season, something that the Jets were aware of before making the deal. “We understand that there are risks – significant risks – but at the end of the day we felt the price was reasonable and the risk was reasonable,” added Tannebaum. “Obviously there’s been some bumps in the road in his past and hopefully he’s learned from that.”

Holmes did not try to avoid the obvious when he first met the New York media via a conference call. “Right now, I’m accountable for what happened and look forward to start a new career here with the Jets,” he said. “I have to be on time to all the meetings, front and center, establishing a great relationship with the players on and off the field so those guys can understand who I am and where I came from.”


What Holmes is right now is as talented as he is troubled. In 2009, he started all 16 games for Pittsburgh and had 79 receptions for 1,248 yards (both carer highs) and five touchdowns. Once his suspension is finished, he will be joining an offense that made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game. Quarterback Mark Sanchez should be better in his second season, the same as running back Shonn Greene. LaDanian Tomlinson was signed to take the place of Thomas Jones to solidify a backfield that led the NFL in rushing last year. The receiving corps includes Braylon Edwards (another player who has made a habit of off-the-field issues), Jericho Cotchery and tight end Dustin Keller.

“I want to be able to help [Sanchez] grow and be able to trust me and know that he has a guy on the field that is capable of making any play that he is willing to throw,” Holmes said.

Entering the final year of his contract, it would behoove Holmes to play well and be on his best behavior. If he fails another drug test, he will be suspended for the entire season. Tannenbaum did not discount the possibility of his newest player receiving a contract extension. “Our hope and expectation is he’ll be here for a long time to come,” he said. “He’s under contract for this year. We’ll go from there.”


Adding such a potent threat to a team who played at such a high level for parts of last season may pay off in a big way. Draft picks are very important for teams to build themselves up, but a fifth rounder is used more for depth rather than a starter, especially one with the talent of Holmes. If he becomes a distraction, the Jets can always cut him and send him on his way. Although Tannenbaum feels confident that the front office did their homework, Holmes did say some troubling things at the end of the conference call.

“I don’t think I’ve made mistakes on my own,” he commented. “I’m not blaming anyone for what I’ve been through, but at the same time, being in certain situations, you have to be accountable for what goes on around you. Sometimes you just have no control over some things that do happen.”

Well, Holmes had better get some control or Ryan will have him for breakfast.

Photo by Joe Pietaro (Super Bowl XLIII)

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