The Santonio Holmes saga continued for the New York Jets this week, with Holmes and and the team offering very different opinions on when the wide receiver will be able to take the field. Holmes is the Jets’ best wide receiver when healthy and motivated, but those times have been few and far between over the last two seasons.
Holmes is widely considered to be a locker room cancer, and many observes pin a significant amount of blame on him for the circus-like atmosphere that has surrounded the Jets, particularly with anonymous quotes ripping teammates. Holmes actually got in a fight with teammate Wayne Hunter in the middle of the 2011 season finale.
Last season, he injured his foot in Week 4, and stated at the time that he would be ready for the beginning of this season. With that deadline rapidly approaching however, it seems that Holmes not only won’t be ready, but that he doesn’t even want to be ready.
GM John Idzik said that he hoped the team was “getting close” to having Holmes returning, going on to say that Holmes had done running and cutting and looked good while doing it. Rex Ryan backed up that sentiment, saying Holmes appeared to be in great shape.
However, Holmes quickly shot down the positive news, saying “looks can be deceiving”. Holmes went on to say that he doesn’t feel nearly as good as he looks, still feels pain every morning and can only run in a straight line with no cutting. Obviously, those remarks are a huge contrast to the statements of Ryan and Idzik, and they make a Week 1 return date look very questionable.
Of course, the only person who truly knows how Holmes feels is Holmes. However, when the team is repeatedly saying that a player appears ready and that player still has yet to practice, you have to question the situation. Holmes knows he is going to be released after this season, and his relationship with the team and many of his teammates is strained at best.
Knowing that, Holmes may not feel particularly motivated to return to the active roster. If he wants no part of this season, it makes sense for him to stay on the PUP list until it expires in Week 6. Holmes could then play a shortened season, prove he still can play, and get a good free agent deal anywhere except New York.
Normally, NFL players are chomping at the bit to be let back on the field after an injury. The fact that Holmes isn’t is what raises questions here. The Jets need to start considering if the positives of Holmes the player outweigh the negatives of Holmes in the locker room. If they determine he is that big of a problem, then they have to start looking into potential trades.
The Holmes/Jets relationship has quickly gone downhill following his first season, and things look they will only get worse. I don’t know how this saga will end, but I do know it will end badly.