Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Monday, October 27, 2008
Holmes apologizes after missing game, drug charge

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes apologized Monday for being involved in a marijuana-related case that caused coach Mike Tomlin to bench him for Sunday's loss to the New York Giants.

Holmes, a 2006 first-round draft pick, was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana after a traffic stop Thursday in which city police smelled burning marijuana and found marijuana-filled cigars in his car.

Holmes' preliminary hearing before a Pittsburgh district judge is scheduled for Nov. 24.

"I would like to apologize to my teammates, the Steelers organization, my family and the fans for my actions that caused me to miss Sunday's game," Holmes said in a statement issued by the team. "I recognize that I made a mistake and understand the significance of my actions and will not make any excuse for my behavior. I look forward to putting this behind me and being accepted by my teammates and the fans as part of this team."

Holmes said he won't address the issue with reporters the rest of the season. The Steelers have not said if he will play Monday night at Washington or if he was fined.

"As this time, I plan to focus all of my efforts on helping our team win on the field and achieve its ultimate goal and will not address this situation publicly in the future," Holmes said in the statement.

Following the incident, Holmes was not allowed to practice Friday or take part in any pregame preparations.

Holmes' absence during the 21-14 loss to New York had a visible effect on the Steelers' passing game. Without Holmes, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had one of the worst performances of his five-season career by going 13-of-29 for 189 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions with a passer rating of 38.5.

Roethlisberger's 44.8 completion percentage was the fourth lowest of his career, trailing only a 42.9 game against New England in 2005; a 43.8 effort against Detroit on Jan. 1, 2006; and the lowest passer rating in Super Bowl history, 22.6, against Seattle in February 2006.

"Obviously, you miss Santonio and what he brings," Roethlisberger said.

Holmes led all NFL receivers last season with 18.2 yards per catch on 52 receptions. He had 22 catches for 360 yards and a touchdown this season.

Tomlin wouldn't cite Holmes' absence for playing a role in the Steelers' loss.

With Holmes out, rookie Limas Sweed played more than he has all season and finished with three catches for 28 yards. Other than Nate Washington's 65-yard TD reception, no Steelers pass play to a wide receiver was longer than 14 yards.

"You know our feelings in regards to that," Tomlin said. "The 11 on the field represent us and the standard of excellence doesn't change. It is not a cliche; we will never waver in regards to that."

Holmes, a former Ohio State player, has had two other run-ins with the law since being drafted.

In June 2006, he was charged with domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio, but the charges were dropped when the mother of one of his three children declined to help prosecute the case. Prosecutors were told Holmes received anger management and domestic violence counseling through the NFL.

A month before that, Holmes was arrested for disorderly conduct by police in Miami, who also later dropped the charges. Holmes is from Belle Glade, Fla.