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mesaSteeler
02-04-2009, 06:57 AM
Holmes, learn from Burress
http://www.newsday.com/sports/football/ny-spglaub036022439feb03,0,2697383.column?track=rss
Bob Glauber
February 3, 2009

TAMPA, Fla.

Santonio Holmes had just won the Super Bowl MVP award, but he wasn't much into celebrating the moment. At least not in the conventional sense. Once he got back to his hotel room after the Steelers' breathtaking 27-23 win over the Cardinals, he hung out with his three kids.

"I just stayed in and relaxed a lot," he said. "The kids were very excited about watching Madagascar II."

Make a spectacular catch and keep both feet - or, should we say, toes - inbounds and win the Super Bowl one minute, chillax with the kids the next. Cool stuff. Especially for the 24-year-old Holmes, who has done a lot of growing up in the last few months.

It was back in late October when Holmes was charged with marijuana possession in downtown Pittsburgh. He was called into coach Mike Tomlin's office and told in no uncertain terms that his behavior was unacceptable. Holmes was told he would not play the following Sunday against the Giants.

"He told me how he'd handle the situation, and at first, I didn't want to hear that," Holmes said yesterday morning after being presented the MVP trophy.

Tomlin knew he had to act decisively, and the best way he knew how was to take away what Holmes enjoyed most: playing football.

"I see that he put me in a better situation," Holmes said, "by getting the distractions away from the team and allowing me to come back the following week and letting it go."

The Steelers lost the game, but they might have gotten something better out of the deal: a better man.

Tomlin beamed yesterday when I asked him how important it was to him as a coach that Holmes seemed to straighten himself out.

"That's the business of coaching," he said. "When you work the way we work with these players, you're a life coach in a lot of ways. You care about them. You wear many hats in this business, and I embrace that as much as the X's and O's. I probably get more enjoyment out of watching people grow than preparing and winning football games. I believe that's what we're all prepared to do."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also was gratified by Holmes' turnaround. Goodell was in touch with the Steelers after Holmes' brush with the law, and he could have interceded had he chosen. But he encourages teams to mete out discipline on their own before matters get to his desk, and he was satisfied with Tomlin's decision.

Goodell gave Holmes a warm embrace yesterday and confided that Holmes approached him shortly after the commissioner presented the Vince Lombardi Trophy. "He grabbed me and hugged me and said, 'Thanks for believing in me,"' Goodell said. "It was a good moment. I'm really proud of him."

The Steelers can only hope that Holmes remains focused on football and doesn't make more bad decisions. The October incident wasn't his first run-in with the law. In June 2006, he was charged with domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio, a month after an arrest for disorderly conduct in Miami. Both times, charges were dropped.

We need only be reminded of the receiver who made the winning catch in last year's Super Bowl. Plaxico Burress went from hero to Exhibit A of all that can go wrong. Burress now wonders if he'll ever play football again because of an accidental self-shooting in a nightclub incident.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suggested after Sunday's game that if Holmes keeps his head on straight, "he has the potential to go where no receiver has ever gone."

That Roethlisberger would even phrase the statement that way was revealing. Big Ben knows how stardom can change your life, and he hopes Holmes doesn't let it go to his head.

If Holmes needs any reminders about how quickly things can go wrong, he need only look at Burress, a former Steeler whose career might be over because he couldn't get it right off the field.

Holmes now gets to enjoy the afterglow that Burress experienced last year, complete with a parade down the streets of his team's city. Burress and his teammates also were feted with a parade, but his 2008 season ended less than 10 months later because of something else that occurred in the same city.

Your choice, Santonio.

RoethlisBURGHer
02-04-2009, 08:32 AM
Great article.

By staying in his hotel and hanging with his adorable kids, I think he has shown that he's grown up a lot these last few months.

I think he's gonna focus on football and life.

devilsdancefloor
02-04-2009, 08:37 AM
nice read thanks for posting! I think we witnessed tione growing up the past 4 or 5 weeks! Instead of partying he went to hang out with his kids tha t in my mind is a HUGE step! :tt03::tt03:

stlrz fan
02-04-2009, 08:52 AM
I had doubts about Holmes when he was first drafted. Not as a player but about his maturity and character. I thin k that he has grown up under the care of the Steeler organization and the guidance of Hines. He has matured greatly and I think that had he gone anywhere else but Pittsburgh it could have been a completely different story. Good for him.