<
>

Santonio: Sitting me cost the team

Reporters never got a chance to question Santonio Holmes about the controversial remarks he made in the aftermath of the Jets' loss to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. The day after, he was nowhere to be found in the Jets' locker room.

Holmes wasn't on the field for the first play, and he wound up sitting out five plays early in the game. Afterward, he was fuming, telling reporters, "Ask coach Schottenheimer what happened. He'll explain it." (Problem: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer hasn't spoken to the media. I've submitted multiple requests with the team since the end of the season, with no success.)

Anyway, Holmes showed up Saturday for a memorabilia show in Somerset, N.J., and he was asked to clarify his remarks from that night. (He also discussed his pending free-agency status.) Was he taking a shot at Schottenheimer?

"I was being critical of not starting in the game," Holmes said. "However anybody wants to take it, whoever it was taking a shot at, that's that. I was being critical of not starting in the AFC Championship Game and I was frustrated. I was very upset that I didn't play for 10 plays. It probably made the biggest difference in how we played."

As everybody knows, the Jets lacked intensity early in the game and nearly got run out of Heinz Field before mounting a second-half charge. Unofficially, Holmes wound up playing in 45 of 57 offensive plays, a fairly typical ratio for him. Fellow receiver Braylon Edwards was in 50 plays. The coaches never really gave a good explanation on why Holmes sat a few plays.

As steamed as he was at the time, Holmes said the mini-benching, if you could call it that, won't have an effect on whether he decides to re-sign with the Jets. Holmes said he will begin working out with his trainer, Tom Shaw, Monday in Florida.