Santonio Holmes: “I didn’t want to turn my back on these guys to take some money to go play somewhere else.”

August 3, 2011 – 6:00 am by Michael Bean

Good for Santonio Holmes. Even as a rabid Steelers fan that was disappointed to see Holmes squander his opportunity to be one of the organization’s all-time great play-makers, I still refuse to look for trite reasons to critique the New York Jets wide receiver, like say, galloping around on a high horse about Holmes sharing a picture on Twitter of him polishing off a bottle of expensive Cristal soon after signing his new five-year $50 million dollar contract, nearly half of which is guaranteed ($24m).  Give me a break. Holmes may be a bit cocky and a bit too sure that he’s the guy in every last situation he’s ever found himself in, but let’s not try to find fault in a young man celebrating a fat contract with a couple hundred dollar bottle of champagne. .

Holmes joined ESPN Radio New York to talk about if there was ever  a moment of doubt that he’d not be playing for the Jets in 2011, why he was so interested all along in re-signing with the team that believed in him after his fallout with the Steelers, his confidence level in Mark Sanchez as the quarterback and leader of the Jets, what it is that Sanchez does that’s so impressive to him, how he’d compare Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez, if he enjoys working and playing with Sanchez more than he did with Ben Roethlisberger, his thoughts on the Plaxico Burress signing and how the two of them can compliment each other, and why he’s not at all apologetic for celebrating his new contract with a bottle of Cristal.

Whether there was ever a moment that he didn’t think he’d be with the Jets in 2011:

“To be honest with you, I honestly didn’t know about the news until the morning that everybody else got it, so I didn’t have a clue. I wanted to be back here, and my agent and the organization handled the things that needed to be handled in the way it needed to be handled. And it kind of made a big splash for everybody, but it’s what we all wanted. I didn’t want to leave, I felt very comfortable being here, being around the guys, being in this environment, and just being a Jet. Having that second opportunity, I didn’t want to turn my back on these guys to take some money to go play somewhere else.”

On what made him so interested in wanting to remain with the Jets:

“Well you go up against some of the best guys in the league that play for this team, and even having them as teammates you have a sense of security knowing that there are No. 1 draft pick guys that are here who lead this team by example. And myself being a No. 1 draft pick brought the same kind of attitude  to the table. And having the whole organization around us, you know Woody Johnson and Tannenbaum, just coming in and showing us love. The facilities are top notch — everybody that has probably come in, even recruits or younger guys that came in just to visit the facilities, would say that this is a world-class organization. You really feel loved once you’ve stepped inside this building.”

How confident is he in Mark Sanchez as the leader and quarterback of the Jets:

“I actually have very little faith in Mark Sanchez. Nah, let me stop playing, I wouldn’t say that about my guy. I had to just throw you guys a loophole, the conversation was going so smooth so… He’s my guy. From the time I met him I felt real confident that no matter what was done on his half, he was always trying to get better. And I think having a young guy take that kind of role early is something you can learn to grow from. You know, I still have a lot to learn myself and he’s constantly helping me with things week in and week out. Sanchez is a very smart guy who is in the film room, studies, he’s on the phone with Schotty every night, all night 2, 3 in the morning coming up with different plays, ideas, designs. Those things kind of go hand-in-hand with having a quarterback who wants to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. And it shows every day in practice how hard he works in the film room, he’s al;ways taking control over the meetings, and everyone around here loves him for that.”

If he enjoys working and playing with Sanchez more than he did with Ben Roethlisberger:

“I wouldn’t say that because I had four great years in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately I got traded and myself and Ben parted ways, but we had a great deal of fun leading our team to the Super Bowl, just winning game after game, Monday night games, Sunday night games, Thursday night games, no matter where we played at, we were always ready to play for each other. And it’s the same way here. When you have a wide receiver who’s hungry, who’s never one to shy away from any type of spotlight, who the quarterback has tons of confidence in, all the other players will sit back and say ‘wow, this guy really wants to play football, he really knows how to play.’ And that’s what I’m bringing to the table, as well as Sanchez is.”

If he’s had a chance to tell Plaxico Burress that his game-winning Super Bowl catch was prettier than his:

“Not yet, he hasn’t even mentioned it to me yet, but once he does, I’m definitely going to kill him, I’m going to shut him down and let him know that his catch was pretty, but mine was prettier.”

If he had any reservations about tweeting a photo of himself with an empty bottle of Cristal after inking the huge contract:

“Not at all, I didn’t think twice about what nobody would care about it. I signed a $50 million dollar contract, I was excited, my friend brought it into my house, and it was something to entertain the fans. No one heard from me the whole time that that had been going on, and all I did was put a picture up on there. And it was the greatest picture that everybody thought that touched the market, and it made front page of the New York Times. I didn’t think it would do that, I just asked my cousin to take a picture of me and we tweeted it — this is what it feels like.”

Listen here to Holmes on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio NY

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