Friday, February 3, 2012
Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes talk
By Rich Cimini
INDIANAPOLIS -- Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes have talked by phone in an attempt to repair their relationship, and they're planning to meet soon for a kind of quarterback-wide receiver retreat.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan told ESPNNewYork.com Friday that Sanchez and Holmes have discussed the possibility of taking an entire weekend to hash out their differences -- a couple's getaway, NFL style.
"I'm not sure if they're going to or not, but that's something they mentioned," Ryan said before a promotional appearance at Super Bowl XLVI. "I'm not sure where it would be or anything like that. I know they had mentioned that to me."
Ryan said he has spoken individually to Sanchez and Holmes, whose year-long rift became public at the end of the season. Asked if he planted the seed for the get-together, Ryan smiled and said, "I'm not going to take credit for that."
The Jets' locker-room discord has been one of the biggest stories of the postseason, with Sanchez and Holmes the central figures. They're on their way to repairing the fractures, according to Ryan.
"I think they're actually going to get together," he said. "Look, we were all disappointed at the way the season went. That's one thing we have in common. We also have a burning desire to win, to right the ship. The previous season, they had great chemistry. There's enough common ground to bring them back."
Ryan, who spent a few days at the Pro Bowl, said he spent a lot of time in Hawaii thinking about ways to improve the team's chemistry. He put his thoughts on paper.
"I've got 20 things I want to do differently," he said. "I went to Hawaii and I wrote down, 'Here's what went wrong, here's how we're going to fix it ... Here's how I'm going to fix it.' "
The always-confident Ryan expressed optimism about recreating team harmony.
"I know we had some bumps in the road, no question," he said. "I feel great about where I think we can go and how we can pull this team back together."
Jets owner Woody Johnson revealed Thursday that he's planning to have dinner next week with Sanchez, and the team also has to make a final decision on Holmes' contract.
If they wanted to cut him, they'd have to do it by Wednesday, according to a clause in the five-year, $45 contract he signed last summer. If he's still on the roster by Wednesday, his guaranteed money increases from $7.75 million to $15 million.
Ryan, reiterating the team's public stance on Holmes, said there's no chance of him being released.
"That's not going to happen," he said.
Ryan said he liked the idea of Johnson breaking bread with Sanchez.
"That ought to be a good thing," he said. "It's his quarterback. That should be good."
Neither Sanchez nor Holmes has commented publicly since the season ended. Sanchez usually attends the Super Bowl to do marketing work for his sponsors, but he stayed away this time. The company line is that he wasn't required by his sponsors to be at the Super Bowl, although that produced some skepticism.
Sanchez just returned from an extended vacation. People close to him wouldn't say where he went, but he was so far out of pocket that he wasn't reachable by cell phone.
The Sanchez-Holmes relationship became a huge story at the end of the season, when it was reported that Holmes refused to attend Sanchez's quarterback-receivers meetings in the days leading up to the final regular-season game. Sources said there was friction between the two throughout the season.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.