Monday, August 18, 2014
Holmes plans to 'embrace opportunity'
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Santonio Holmes put in extra time after Monday's practice at Halas Hall after the rest of the Chicago Bears left the field to work with backup quarterback Jordan Palmer and receivers coach Mike Groh.
Holmes chalked it up as business as usual for a new player joining a new team, and hopes he exactly fits what the team is looking for in a No. 3 receiver.
"I'm excited," Holmes said. "I'm really going to embrace this opportunity and take advantage of it. This is what new guys get treated to. They get treated to an opportunity to learn the reps and know the plays that you'll probably be sent in to run. I'm taking full advantage of it. My impression of the offense is it's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting this year. I look forward to what we have."
Holmes took part in his first practice with the team Monday after being signed on Saturday. Brandon Marshall said Holmes would bring "experience" and "big plays" to the offense, and believes the veteran quickly worked himself into the mix on his first day with the club.
Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who spent time with Holmes at Ohio State, said he remembers the receiver as "a playmaker" who was "able to make big catches. He was a guy who could give you a chunk on offense."
The Bears don't necessarily need that. The offense simply needs a consistent complement to top receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marshall, while Marquess Wilson -- who was expected to be the No. 3 receiver this season -- recuperates from a fractured clavicle suffered during training camp.
The MVP of Super Bowl XLIII, Holmes has caught 381 passes for 5,963 yards with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2006-09), and New York Jets (2010-13). Holmes can also contribute on special teams, as he's returned 66 punts for 636 yards and a touchdown in addition to 18 kickoffs for 436 yards.
Holmes said "if It will help the team, I'm all for" contributing in the return game. Still, there's a question as to whether Holmes' health will hold up over 16 games. Holmes caught 23 passes for 456 yards and a touchdown last season in 11 games. The year before, Holmes played in four games before suffering a lisfranc injury which put him on the shelf for the rest of the season.
Asked about his reputation for being difficult with teammates, Holmes said "nobody's talked about it. Nobody's brought it up. So it won't be an issue here."
One of Holmes' first orders of business is to build a rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler.
"It's gonna be big," Holmes said. "He knows who I am, and I know who he is. I know what he has to offer, and I have to prove to him what I have to offer to the team, which is showing up, being on time, being accountable, catching every pass from him and showing him how hard I want to work in this offense. I'm excited to be here with him. He's taken me under his wing, talked to me and kept me close."
Holmes spent part of Monday's workout fielding punts, and Bears coach Marc Trestman said the plan is to find as much value in the receiver as possible, while adding he's got to overcome a steep learning curve in absorbing Chicago's offense.
Trestman isn't concerned about Holmes' past.
"What's in the past is in the past," Trestman said. "I'm excited about it. I've watched him work the last couple of days. He's been out running and catching the ball a little bit with Jay and the guys. It's good to see him out here. We'll see how it goes. This will be a one-day-at-a-time [situation]. We'll just ease him on in and see where this thing goes on a day-to-day basis."