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Holmes focused on game, not trade

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Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
 

Santonio Holmes said he is over it. Honestly. Truly. Almost.

Asked about Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, who traded him to the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick in April, the receiver said the Jets' 22-17 victory in Pittsburgh last month was enough for him to finally let go.

"The personal game is out of the way," said Holmes, the 2009 Super Bowl MVP. "I got a chance to beat them the first time around. This time it means everything. The game is about getting to the Super Bowl. I don't care about the Steelers right now."

Really?

"If we win the Super Bowl, then everything is personal," Holmes went on to say. "That's a slap right back in those guys' face for trading me. But right now it's not a focus of mine."

Holmes' tenure in Pittsburgh was marked by highs and lows. He caught the game-winning catch in the waning seconds of Super Bowl XLIII, but he also was cited for cited for marijuana possession in 2008 and accused of throwing a glass at a woman in a bar in Orlando, Fla., in March.

The NFL suspended Holmes for the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Holmes called the trade a "learning experience."

"I had to learn the business aspect of this game, which entitles things like this to happen," he said. "Things like this happen to big-time players."

Holmes has been a big-time player for the Jets, making crucial catches in each of their upset playoff victories over Indianapolis and New England. He wore a T-shirt celebrating "The Flight Boys," the Jets' trio of wideouts that also includes Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards.

"It's something we want to prove to ourselves that we can be a great group of receivers," Holmes said.

There is a fourth Flight Boy, the multipurpose Brad Smith, who is hampered by a groin injury. But he is more like a stealth pilot. "He's our secret service guy," Holmes kidded. "We don't talk about him too much."

They'll have to go through a player Holmes described as the best he has seen — Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who missed the teams' game last month.

"I honestly think Troy Polamalu is probably the greatest player I've ever played with or even seen play in person," Holmes said. "The things that he did in my four years of being there, and prior to me getting there, was just disrupt a team.

"He's jumping over the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball, tackling runners in the backfield, jumping up and intercepting the ball one-handed.

"In my eyes, I think he's the greatest player I've ever played with."

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