Holmes took fall for bad behavior

April, 11, 2010
4/11/10
11:54
PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers have earned more negative press than any NFL team in recent weeks, and that didn't sit well with ownership or the team's front office.

[+] EnlargeSantonio Holmes
Jason Bridge/US PresswireSantonio Holmes caught 79 passes for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns last season, but had off-the-field incidents.
Therefore, it was a matter of time before someone took the fall, and that player turned out to be receiver Santonio Holmes.

The Steelers traded the former Super Bowl MVP to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton. Yes, the Jets fleeced the Steelers by giving up a late-round pick for a very good receiver. But it's clear this move had more to do with off-the-field behavior than on-the-field performance for Pittsburgh.

Holmes was on track to become Pittsburgh's No. 1 receiver before recent incidents put him in the doghouse with the Steelers' brass. He was suspended by the team during the 2008 season for being caught with marijuana in his vehicle. Holmes also admitted to selling drugs as a youth before Super Bowl XLIII, in addition to facing recent allegations from a woman who claimed a drink was thrown at her.

Add in the recent legal troubles with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers felt something had to be done to begin restoring their public image.

In the end, it's much easier for Pittsburgh to trade a receiver than a $100 million franchise quarterback.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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