Did The Steelers Give Up On Holmes Too Quickly?
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Friday, April 16, 2010
By Flip Fisher
SteelersFever.com Guest Columnist
For the record.
While a teenager, Santonio Holmes was a self-admitted drug dealer in Belle Glade, Florida.
May 27 2006 – Arrested for disorderly conduct. Charges dropped.
June 18, 2006 – Arrested for domestic abuse and assault. Charges dropped.
October 23, 2008 – Arrested and cited for marijuana possession. Suspended one game.
March 7, 2010 – Allegedly tossed a drink in a woman’s face, and apparently cutting her eye with the glass. Civil suit filed, criminal charges pending.
April 10, 2010 – Suspended for four games next season after violating the NFL drug policy.
Quite the track record for the Steelers’ Super Bow MVP. Now he is the property of the New York Jets. There will be two burning questions that a lot of fans and the media will be asking.
1. Did Pittsburgh give up on this gifted WR too soon?
2. Did the Steelers get any kind of market value for him?
To take a crack at the first question is fairly simple. The long time owners of the Steelers, the Rooney family, have always had a short fuse when it comes to troubled or out of control players. Plaxico Burress, now in jail, and Joey Porter, still shooting his mouth off and under performing, are two prime examples. Both entering what would be considered primes of their careers were dumped because of character issues.
Holmes has all the talent in the world to be a all pro WR, as he did lead the league in yards per reception in 2007. Holmes was also slated to become the clear cut no. 1 WR as Hines Ward continues his slow decline. The former Ohio St. Buckeye simply wore out his welcome though. But should he have been granted another chance?
The Rooney’s have always stated that high character players, will always outweigh players with poor behavior or run-ins with the law. The 5-11 192 pound WR clearly was no longer worth the headaches that he brought to the storied franchise. Super Bowl MVP WR are not a dime a dozen in the league, but with the civil suit pending and now the woman is wanting to press charges, the writing was on the wall.
During the same time, Holmes made some very foolish Twitter posts, one even suggested a poster commit suicide. Then a few days after the woman said she wanted to file charges, the impending suspension leaked out. That was it for Holmes in Pittsburgh. As a repeat offender he will be suspended for four games, as he was already enrolled in the league’s substance abuse program. Clearly Pittsburgh could no longer tolerate a player with drug issues and persistent legal issues, along with lashing at out the public in his blog.
The Steelers gave this highly gifted athlete more chances than maybe he deserved, and had to simply cut their ties with him. Holmes was traded to the New York Jets for their fifth-round pick, 151st overall. Fair compensation for the 2006 25th overall pick? Fair compensation for a Super Bowl MVP? Fair compensation for a player who is only 26 and is an emerging star on the field? Yes and no.
Pittsburgh might have been worried that charges, in the drink tossing incident, might be filed. Thus leading to a longer suspension. Also, this could drop his trade value even more. There have been plenty of gems in the fifth-round of the NFL Draft. Rodney Harrison, Aaron Kampman and Zack Thomas just to name a few. There is talent in the 5th, but usually very raw and not easy to spot. The last solid Steeler found in the fifth was probably Barry Foster, and that was long ago.
But realistically, they did not get fair value for this talent leaden player. Quite a few picks in the fifth do not even make it to the final cuts, in their rookie season, let alone in their sophomore year.
Basically it comes down to the Steelers’ organization telling all their current and future players to keep their wrists out of cuffs and their blood system clean or they will not have a shot to be with the Pittsburgh Steelers when they vye for their, record setting, 7th Super Bowl ring.