For Holmes, Playing Steelers Is Personal

For Holmes, Playing Steelers Is Personal

Jets safety Drew Coleman was in the weight room with receiver Santonio Holmes on Wednesday afternoon at the team's complex. It was a few minutes before Holmes chatted with reporters about his second trip to Pittsburgh and second encounter with the Steelers in barely a month. Holmes and the Jets won the last time. This time, for the AFC championship on Sunday, it is a more extravagant expedition.

Holmes played his first four pro seasons in Pittsburgh before the Steelers kicked him to the Jets in a trade last April. It makes sense that Holmes would see red any time he confronts Steelers' black and gold. Coleman thought so.

"I asked him if this was a good way for another shot at redemption,'' Coleman said. "He said, 'I already got the personal thing out of the way in the last game. This is about the Jets. This is not about me.'''

In his news conference, Holmes repeated that spiel. The personal thing is out of the way, he said. It is not his focus, he said. He just sees the Steelers as a team in the Jets' way, he insisted.

Holmes was good. It was a convincing show.

And it was pure theater.

Because this fleet, big-play receiver thrives on competition. And his pride. With all of his off-field antics, the Steelers considered him a hindrance. A knucklehead. Their patience evaporated. And with all of the shenanigans they simultaneously faced while dealing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it was one issue too many last April. At least one of them had to go. Guess who?

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