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Mercurial wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who famously clashed with Mark Sanchez at the end of the 2011 season, gave his endorsement Wednesday to Sanchez in the New York Jets' looming quarterback competition.
"Right now, it's Sanchez, and that's who we're going with, and we're going to continue on this road until time permits," Holmes said on the NBC Sports Network, speaking publicly for the first time since the end of the season.
Holmes hasn't played in a regular-season game with any of the other quarterbacks on the Jets' roster -- David Garrard, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and rookie Geno Smith. From all indications, Holmes and Sanchez settled their differences before last season. Holmes played only four games because of a Lisfranc foot injury that required surgery.
When asked whether Sanchez believes he's the starter, Holmes said the quarterback is focusing on "being Mark Sanchez, the team leader."
Holmes dodged a question about the recently released Tim Tebow. Asked to describe the Tebow experience in one word, he paused and said, "That one, I'm going to leave unanswered for that one. I have no answer for that one." He added, "I didn't get a chance to play with Tim Tebow, so I can't fully express myself on the situation."
Actually, he played four games with Tebow. It's worth noting that it was Holmes, at the start of last season's training camp, who expressed skepticism about the prospect of a two-quarterback system succeeding in the NFL. He was right about that.
Holmes recently took a $3.5 million pay cut, lowering his base pay to a guaranteed $7.5 million. Basically, the non-guaranteed portion of his 2013 base pay was cut. Holmes said he did it for the good of the team, insisting he was in no jeopardy of being released.
"I want to be here for the long term, and if it means helping out the team, I'm going to continue helping out the team in any way possible," Holmes said.
Holmes hasn't been participating in voluntary workouts. He has been rehabbing his surgically repaired foot while taking classes at Ohio State. While he was gone, the Jets traded their best player, cornerback Darrelle Revis.
"I didn't believe it," Holmes said. "I was constantly getting text messages and phone calls, asking me about the situation, and all I can say is congrats to Rev. He deserves to get paid the way he's playing, and I hope he gets well with his injury to provide some great defense for the Bucs."
The Jets open against the Bucs, so it will probably be Revis covering Holmes -- assuming Holmes is healthy. The Jets' plan is to bring him along slowly in the preseason, targeting Week 1.