Santonio Holmes denies account in SI

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes didn't play the no comment card when asked about a recent Sports Illustrated article that contends he admitted to taking money from an agent while in college.

On Wednesday in front of his locker, Holmes denied the allegations.

"I had no recognition of it until I was contacted by my agent and by PR," Holmes said. "It was probably something thrown out there to further tarnish my career. But everything happens for a reason. The allegations are false that were made by this guy, whoever this reporter is who said that I took money. It's all false."

When told that Josh Luchs was the source of the information, Holmes said he was unaware of who that was and had never come into contact with him. Luchs is a former agent who says he once paid players and named names in the Oct. 18 edition of Sports Illustrated. He said Holmes never directly took money from him, but Luchs said in the article that Holmes told him that he was already taking money from another agent.

The Sports Illustrated story contains Holmes' denial at the end of the story, but another agent, Steve Feldman, confirms Luchs' version.

"Whoever it is, I would like him to come face-to-face with me and talk to me about the issue," Holmes said.

Asked point-blank if he took money from anyone while he was in college, in violation of NCAA rules, Holmes straightened up and spoke deliberately.

"I'm in my fifth year in the NFL. I'm a Super Bowl MVP," Holmes began. "I have not been to the table to take any money from anybody from any team, and I asked to take money from a guy I didn't even know? Seriously? It's self-explanatory."

The Jets wide receiver returned last week from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. It was his second violation -- his first came after he was cited for marijuana possession. Holmes was also sued for throwing a glass at a woman in a nightclub, but another person admitted to throwing the glass.

The Pittsburgh Steelers opted to trade the Super Bowl MVP for a fifth-round pick this spring after his violation of the substance abuse policy.

Luchs mentioned another Jet in his story, former Purdue tight end Dustin Keller. He said that Keller was unusual in that he paid his own way to visit agents, rather than risk violating any rules.

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.