CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) — Santonio Holmes spent last week in a hospital with his ailing son, his mind far from the football field.
The New York Jets wide receiver got back to work Wednesday, reporting for training camp and practicing with the team in the afternoon.
“The first day was cool, man,” Holmes said. “I actually didn’t think I was going to be ready for it. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, doing a lot of family time and issues. But, I think it’s just a mental thing. They got me back into the groove. I was ready to go.”
Holmes was given a later reporting date of Wednesday — the team arrived for camp Sunday — so he could be with his son, Santonio III, who had his spleen removed. He wrote on his Twitter page last week that his son, who has sickle cell anemia, was in a hospital in Atlanta.
“Over the years, the doctors told us he can’t get it removed until he’s about 8 years old,” he said, “because he really needs it at a young age and it was steadily increasing inside his stomach, getting larger.”
Holmes’ son was released from the hospital Saturday night, and the receiver stayed with him in Georgia before reporting Wednesday.
“It was bad because he had to get four holes punched into his stomach,” Holmes said. “It’s kind of tough being an 8-year-old with marks all over your body and at a critical point in your stomach.”
Holmes said his son is up and walking now, and the two will keep in touch daily throughout camp and during the season. For now, though, Holmes is focused on getting the offense down.
“Today was a work day, strictly work day,” said Holmes, who received text messages from teammates and coaches to show their support while he was away. “I think about him throughout my time off, but once I’m off the field, that’s when all my attention goes back to my family.”
Holmes will get up to speed with the offense quickly: His roommate is quarterback Mark Sanchez. Holmes requested that he be paired with the guy he hopes to catch plenty of passes from.
“It’s like winter formal, where the girl asks the guy,” Sanchez said, laughing. “Nah, he said something about it when we were eating, and he said, ‘Hey, we cool rooming together?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, man.’ I got in there and got the top bunk, so I’m lucky.”
While star cornerback Darrelle Revis stayed away for the fourth straight day, Holmes arrived shortly after the morning practice ended. Coach Rex Ryan said Holmes will take his conditioning test after he returns from a four-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
“He had some personal things,” Ryan said. “I don’t think it’s fair to him to have him go through that test. We might be doing more damage than good.”
The former Super Bowl MVP, acquired in the offseason from Pittsburgh, worked with both the first- and second-team offenses and had a nice diving touchdown catch in drills.
Meanwhile, Revis remained locked in a contract dispute with the team and missed his third day of practices.
Revis is set to make $1 million in the fourth year of his six-year rookie deal, but wants to become the league’s highest-paid cornerback. He’s seeking a deal higher than the three-year, $45.3 million extension Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha signed last offseason.
Revis is being fined $16,523 for each day he misses, and already owes $66,092.
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