<
>

Jets GM: 'Santonio is one of ours'

4/12/2010
Bill Amatucci, Jr./Getty Images

The New York Jets insist they know what they're getting into with Santonio Holmes.

"We understand that there's risk, significant risk," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said on a conference call Monday to discuss the trade that sent a fifth-round draft choice to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the wayward receiver.

"We're moving forward together. Santonio is one of ours. Now it's up to us to make it work."

Within hours of the trade, the NFL suspended Holmes the first four games of the season for repeated violations of its substance-abuse policy.

That's why the Jets needed to give up such a trivial asset to obtain a player who last year amassed 79 receptions and 1,248 yards.

"A guy with his production at 26 years old, he would not have been available if these indiscretions didn't happen and, obviously, the suspension," Tannenbaum said. "But with that said, he just felt like with what we had to give up, the risk and the price was reasonable for us."

Holmes used the word "accountable" in about every fifth sentence during his conference call. The Steelers were forced to dump him after a series of transgressions.

"The same mistakes won't be accepted around here," Holmes said.

Marijuana has been a major presence in his life. In addition to the NFL's positive drug tests, he was charged with possession in 2008.

Holmes was involved in a domestic violence incident in 2006. He was accused last month of throwing a glass at a woman, cutting her above the eye at a club in Orlando, Fla. An investigation is ongoing. A witness accepted responsibility, but a lawsuit against Holmes is pending.

Holmes admitted he must earn the Jets' trust in the locker room.

"I definitely have to be accountable for my actions now," Holmes said. "I need to get a hold of all the players, spend some time with these guys, show them what type of work ethic that I have, always on time to the meetings, front and center, establishing a great relationship with all the players on and off the field so those guys can understand who I am and where I came from.

"I don't think I need to dig myself out of any hole. These guys are opening their arms to me right now. All I have to do is walk into them."

The Jets have taken chances on three prominent players with notorious reputations: receiver Braylon Edwards, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and now Holmes.

They all possess incandescent skills and can help the Jets win a Super Bowl, but their personalities can be subversive if not properly managed.

They've also lost some high-character players from their locker room, letting running back Thomas Jones and kicker Jay Feely depart as free agents.

Will the volatility be too much for second-year head coach Rex Ryan to manage?

Tannenbaum sounded confident in Ryan's ability to get the most out of his players. Veterans such as running back LaDainian Tomlinson, fullback Tony Richardson, linebacker Bart Scott and cornerback Darrelle Revis will play a stabilizing role in the locker room.

"When you look at Rex's ability to relate to people and connect with players, he's really outstanding at that," Tannenbaum said. "He's done that his whole life, his whole career. He has a very unique ability to connect to a lot of different types of people.

"He loves working with different types of people. He believes giving people second chances, and he's energized by those challenges."