NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – A tearful speech from Rex Ryan. Bart Scott flipping the bird. Darrelle Revis and Nick Folk, normally media-friendly, silent.
It was a surreal setting Monday as the Jets cleaned out their lockers. But despite all the theatrics, wide receiver Santonio Holmes still garnered the most attention.
Holmes, benched Sunday after arguing with teammates in the huddle, went to his locker, grabbed a box and a helmet and was then escorted out of the locker room by a public relations staff member without talking.
Holmes was yanked by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer — a move Ryan supported, but didn’t know about when it first happened — as the Jets tried to rally in the fourth quarter. He was held without a catch for the first time in his 88-game career and sulked while standing alone on the sideline as the team lost 19-17, ending the Jets’ playoff chances.
Ryan said there are “a lot of positive things about Santonio,” but acknowledged that there’s room for improvement.
“Are there some things that we need to get corrected? Absolutely,” said Ryan. “And it’s not just with him, but others as well, myself. … But I believe Santonio will be back next year.”
Quarterback Mark Sanchez declined to comment on what went on with Holmes, saying it was an “in-house” issue that shouldn’t be discussed through the media.
“I wouldn’t single Santonio out like he was the sole problem,” receiver Patrick Turner said. “It’s a team sport and one’s wrong, we’re all wrong.”
But according to reports, the receiver and Sanchez clashed at a meeting last week, and several players questioned Holmes’ captaincy throughout the season.
The Jets won’t have to worry about that next season. Ryan acknowledged that he “made a huge mistake” naming six team captains — he previously only had game captains — and no one will wear the captain “C” on their jersey anymore.
“I think that pulls away from the team a little bit,” Ryan said of having captains. “It may work for other franchises, but it doesn’t work for me.”
Holmes and guard Brandon Moore went back and forth earlier this season when the receiver criticized the offensive line for not protecting Sanchez or giving him enough time to throw long passes. Moore said that kind of talk could have “a fracturing effect” — and it appears he was right.
“There’s a lot of reasons we didn’t have the kind of season we wanted, and chemistry can go down on that list,” Moore said.
He declined to discuss whether a team could accept a player who was deemed by some to have “quit” back next season.
“I don’t really have anything to say about 10,” Moore said, referring to Holmes by his jersey number.
“I thought we were past all that,” Ryan said. “I mean, I did, and then obviously some things came up and we were not as close of a football team as I thought we were.”
Also on Monday, Scott bristled as he was walking out and was asked about a report that he likely wouldn’t be back next season.
“All I know is I’ve got a guaranteed contract for $4 million,” he snarled. He then used an expletive at a photographer and stuck out his middle finger, adding: “Take a picture of this.”
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