Steelers won't further punish Holmes, will start him against Redskins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers won't further punish wide receiver Santonio Holmes for being charged last week with a marijuana-related offense and plan to start him Monday night in Washington.

Holmes, who led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season, was benched for the Steelers' 21-14 loss Sunday to the New York Giants and was not in uniform. He was allowed to return to the team after speaking to his teammates and issuing a public apology on Monday.

The NFL could punish Holmes once his case is resolved, but coach Mike Tomlin said there will be no additional action taken by the team. Tomlin did not say if Holmes was fined, although he likely was.

Holmes, a third-year player out of Ohio State, was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a small amount of marijuana following a police stop Thursday. Holmes has a preliminary hearing before a Pittsburgh district judge on Nov. 24.

"As a football team and an organization, in terms of our view of the situation, we've laid it to bed," Tomlin said Tuesday. "Satisfactory action has been taken from our standpoint. ... For us, we're moving forward."

Tomlin doesn't care if the NFL players' union is unhappy the Steelers chose to effectively suspend Holmes for an issue that is covered by the NFL's substance abuse policy.

"I'm not concerned about their view whether we chose to activate him," Tomlin said. "We've got 53 men on the team. We chose to activate 45 for a particular game. That's what we chose to do and move forward."

The Steelers never said before the Giants' game that Holmes was suspended, instead handling the matter by deactivating him.

Holmes' absence hurt the Steelers' offense during a game in which, except for a 65-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington on Pittsburgh's first play of the second half, Ben Roethlisberger did not complete a pass to a wide receiver longer than 14 yards.

Roethlisberger was under a heavy pass rush and was sacked five times, pushing his season total to 23 -- third most in the league.

As a result, Roethlisberger is dealing again with a sore right shoulder -- he was diagnosed several weeks ago with a slight separation -- and may officially return to the team's injury list Wednesday.

Roethlisberger may not practice Wednesday or Thursday because the Steelers have an extra day to prepare for the Monday night game.

"Same thing, right shoulder," Tomlin said of Roethlisberger's injury. "That's going to continue to be week to week. It was better last week because he rarely got hit [Oct. 19] versus the Bengals. He got hit a few times on Sunday. We'll see how he feels when he comes in here on Wednesday."