By Bryan Cross
The Pittsburgh Steelers demonstrated that they will not put up with acts away from the football field that present the team in poor light, with legal troubles and bad character. As a result, they have sent Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a 5th round draft pick.
The move came as a surprise to Holmes, who had recently made headlines for allegedly throwing a drink in a woman’s face at a bar because she would not move from her seat.
“I was very shocked at first,” Holmes said. “But I knew it definitely opened up a lot more doors and a better opportunity for me to start over.”
Holmes was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 NFL season, and will not be able to debut in a Jets uniform until week five, after he failed the league's substance abuse policy.
“We understood that was part of it, but we just felt like even with that, it was worth it,” remarked Steelers general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. “Obviously, a guy with his production and at 26 years old, he would not have been available if these indiscretions didn’t happen, and obviously the suspension. But, with that said, we just felt like the risk and the price was reasonable for us.”
If Holmes were to have a second substance abuse offense, the wide receiver would be suspended for the full season.
“To go back down the same road, make the same mistakes, won’t be accepted,” Holmes remarked.
Statistically, Holmes had his highest production on the field in 2009-10, hauling in 79 receptions for 1,248 yards to go along with five trips to the end-zone.
However, that is overshadowed by the black-eye that Holmes endured off the field as he continues to go through the lawsuit from the woman that says Holmes threw a glass at her and hit her with it.
Holmes has had previous run ins with the law, being arrested for marijuana possession in 2008, and domestic violence in 2006.
The wide receiver is also suspected of a post on his twitter account saying “kill urself” to a fan. Holmes says that his account was hacked however.
“It wasn’t me,” Holmes remarked. “I never tried to defend myself on that topic among anyone on Twitter or among anyone that tried to ask me for interviews. I would definitely be accountable for my actions if I did say it.”
Holmes was a first-round draft pick in 2006 out of Ohio State University and was the number one receiver on the Steelers prior to the trade to the Jets.
“Obviously, there’s been some bumps in the road in the past and hopefully he’s learned from that,” Tannenbaum remarked. “We understand that there’s risks, significant risks.”
With the 2010 NFL draft just weeks away, the Steelers will have to decide on how they will approach it with the departure of Holmes, leaving a potential spot open at the receiver position.
Pittsburgh has the 18th pick in the first round of the draft, with the top receiver by consensus being Dez Bryant out of Oklahoma State.
Despite parting ways with Holmes, the Steelers are installed as a contender to win Super Bowl XLV according to Online Sportsbooks.