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Saturday, July 29, 2006
Steelers' Holmes doesn't apologize for multiple arrests

Associated Press

LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Santonio Holmes offered no apologies. No excuses, either.

Holmes, arrested twice since being the first wide receiver selected during the NFL draft in April, doesn't think the incidents have affected his status with the Steelers or their fans and declined Saturday to say he was sorry.

"I haven't gotten any negative feedback from any fan I have seen around the city since I've been here, which is about a month and a half," Holmes said after completing the team's annual camp-opening run test. "So I don't think I have anything to say to those guys. They know what I can do on the field, what type of person I am on and off the field."

Holmes faces an Aug. 15 trial in Columbus, Ohio, for domestic violence, an incident that involves the mother of one of his three children. He also pleaded innocent to disorderly conduct charges filed in Miami in May.

Even if Holmes thinks differently, the two arrests troubled the Steelers, and director of football operations Kevin Colbert said the team will closely monitor his situation. Holmes faces possible discipline by the NFL if any more problems occur.

However, the Steelers did not feel it was necessary to include any extra language in Holmes' $8.11 million, five-year contract protecting them if he could not play as the result of any off-field problems. Colbert said the team felt the standard NFL player contract offers sufficient protection. Holmes' deal guarantees him $5.42 million.

"He set himself back with a couple of incidents. ... Now, it's up to him to take the next step," Colbert said. "We're comfortable he will take all the necessary corrective steps on and off the field."

Coach Bill Cowher said he will talk to Holmes about the player's troubled summer, but first wanted to see what Holmes said during his news conference Saturday.

Holmes also hasn't endeared himself to at least one Steelers player, and it's an important one -- Ben Roethlisberger, the man who will throw Holmes' passes. The quarterback said he tried to call Holmes several times during the summer, but Holmes never returned his calls.

Asked Saturday if the two ever talked, Roethlisberger said, "Yeah, when he showed up yesterday (Friday) we said `Hi' to each other."

Holmes didn't seem to think there was a problem with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, saying, "I didn't get any calls from him."

Less than a day since signing his contract, Holmes took part in the mandatory series of 14 40-yard sprints that each uninjured Steelers player must complete before the team begins practicing. Before reporting to camp Friday, Holmes spent the week working out with Hines Ward, the Steelers' Super Bowl MVP receiver.

"I wouldn't say it was a piece of cake. It was pretty tough, but I prepared myself well during the time I was in Pittsburgh, training on my own and then training with Hines," Holmes said.

Nine players skipped the runs because of medical concerns, the most of any recent Steelers camp. Among those not running were quarterback Charlie Batch, center Jeff Hartings, running back Duce Staley, nose tackle Casey Hampton, linebacker Joey Porter, right tackle Max Starks, defensive end Shaun Nua and tight end Walter Young.

Porter had knee surgery two months ago, and Cowher said he likely will begin camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Hampton, a Pro Bowl lineman whose listed weight is 325 pounds, had problems with the run test three years ago. On Saturday, he took part in several 100-yard runs that weren't part of the Steelers' prescribed running test and trailed badly in his group.

"Casey tweaked a hamstring last week running for the test," Cowher said. "I was surprised. He said he tweaked it, but I didn't know he could run fast enough to tweak it."