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Steelers No. 1 pick Holmes arrested ... again

| Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Steelers No. 1 pick Santonio Holmes was released on his own recognizance at 1:55 p.m. Monday after being arraigned on charges of domestic violence by assault, assault and speeding, according to a spokeswoman for the Franklin County (Ohio) Clerk of Courts.

Holmes pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

"He's wrongly accused of domestic violence and assault," Holmes' attorney, Sam Shamansky, told the Associated Press. "I'm confident as this case works its way through the system it'll be successfully resolved. He'll just continue to do what he does with a passion, and that's play football."

No trial date has been set and no judge has been assigned to Holmes' case.

The domestic violence by assault and assault charges are first-degree misdemeanors and carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to Columbus (Ohio) police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woods.

The Steelers had no comment yesterday on Holmes' arrest, his second since Memorial Day weekend.

Calls to Holmes, his mother, Patricia Brown, and Holmes' agent, Joel Segal, were not returned yesterday.

Columbus police were called shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, Woods said, in response to a domestic disturbance at 633 Player Court.

"The caller indicated that the father of her child had assaulted her and that he had left the scene of this residence," Woods said. "We dispatched two officers to investigate.

"Based on the interview of the victim, they determined they had enough to file charges on the suspect."

"While the officers were still at the scene, Mr. Holmes returned to the scene. He was arrested at about 12:04 a.m. (yesterday) without incident."

Woods said Holmes declined to make a statement.

"There is no indication that the victim was hospitalized," Woods said. "There were visible injuries but there wasn't a medic dispatched to the scene."

Holmes' uncle, Byron Brown, reacted with disbelief when informed yesterday of Holmes' plight.

"I'm not going to believe that one until I see it," Brown said. "That doesn't sound like my nephew.

"Before he would put his hand on anybody he would think about it and walk away. That's a shocker."

Holmes has an infant daughter, Saniya, living in Ohio, and a pair of toddler sons, Santonio III and NiCori, living in Florida.

The Steelers traded up seven spots in the first round of the NFL draft in April, exchanging first-round picks with the Giants and sending New York third- and fourth-round selections to position themselves to draft Holmes 25th overall.

The Steelers selected Holmes, 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, with the hopes that he'd help compensate for the free-agent loss of Antwaan Randle El at wide receiver and on punt returns.

Holmes had initially been arrested over the Memorial Day weekend in Florida and charged with disorderly conduct while attending a hip-hop music festival during which 563 event-goers were similarly detained.

"This is a minor charge, this is nothing," Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said at the time.

"We have not talked face-to-face about it, but I don't have any long-term concerns," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said in early June. "I think he's still a very solid individual and I'm not going to hold that incident against him, even though we will talk about it."

Holmes, 22, had been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in November of 2003. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel had held Holmes out of the starting lineup the following week against Michigan, but allowed Holmes to play most of the game.

That charge was dropped in March of 2004.

The speeding charge, unrelated to the assault charges, is a minor-misdemeanor ACDA violation (unassured clear distance ahead), dating back to a traffic accident in which Holmes had been involved Oct. 18, 2005.

Tressel, unaware of the details surrounding Homes' latest run-in with the law, vouched vehemently for his former receiver's character.

"Santonio Holmes really is a good kid," Tressel said. "Obviously, I'm as shocked as anyone.

"(The Steelers) got a good character guy, they absolutely did. Circumstances can happen to good character guys, just like the guy who rode the motorcycle."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had been hospitalized June 12 after suffering injuries in a motorcycle crash while not wearing a helmet.

Roethlisberger was cited for riding without a license and not wearing a helmet and will be issued $388 in fines and fees, Pittsburgh police said yesterday.

"Time will prove Ben a good man, and Santonio as well," Tressel said.

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