Thursday, January 5, 2012

SANTONIO HOLMES -- Steelers' actions don't lie

I'm an admitted Steelers homer and no doubt take great pride in being from the Steel City.  However, it amazes me that people won't recognize that one of the reasons the Steelers are where they are is they are willing, even against great criticisim, to cut the head off the snake before it grows into a dangerous sidewinder. 

Santonio Holmes was Super Bowl XLIII MVP after a fantastic final drive that culminated with his tiptoe grab of a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the corner of the end zone.  What should have been a great leap into super stardom for Holmes instead turned into a post-season head-scratcher for most.  The Steelers didn't sign or reward him, but instead traded him to the Jets in April for a fifth round pick. 

That's correct -- Pittsburgh accepted a fifth round pick for the Super Bowl MVP coming off a season of 79catches and 1,248 yards with five scores.  How could this be?  For most teams and their fans, this would have been considered a travesty.  Here's a talented and young former first round draft pick sent walking without the Steelers getting much in return (they traded the Pick to Arizona and re-acquired Bryant McFadden, so maybe much isn't a fair word here).  The Steelers also refused to sign WR Plaxico Burress following the 2004-2005 campaign, and subsequently went to and won Super Bowl XL without him.  That's not to say Burress himself wasn't a fine talent.  It's more a reflection that he wasn't exactly missed in the locker room a year after his departure.  A few years later he would shoot himself in the leg and end up in jail.  Two first round picks, both wide receivers, essentially jettisoned for little payback.

Call me a homer again, but time and time again the Steelers have seemingly been one step ahead of the league in recognizing a "problem" player and relinquishing him of his responsibilities.  Holmes' run-ins with the law are noteworthy, including his own admission to selling drugs during his teenage years. 

Now Holmes (and his attitude) is being blamed as a reason the Jets faltered.  While that may not be entirely fair, Holmes' problems of drug use, possession and spousal/girlfried abuse have seen him in police custody more than a few times.  His lack of professionalism during games and in post-game news conferences recently are reminiscent more of a ten-year-old than a soon-to-be 28-year-old.

It should be noted that when the Pittsburgh Steelers release someone of this magnitude, the NFL should perk up and pay attention.  This franchise has a low tolerance for bad behavior - heck, they almost cut Ben Roethlisberger in 2010 - and continues to be one of the few in the league who continues to stand by their ethics and morals in a day where management comes under heavy pressure and scrutiny almost daily.  This is just one of the reasons the Steelers are perennial Super Bowl contenders.