NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – It was too much, too soon for Santonio Holmes.
And that was fine with Jets coach Rex Ryan.
The wide receiver pulled himself out of practice during organized team activities Thursday because he was in for “too many reps” after missing some of the voluntary sessions the past few weeks.
Holmes, who recently returned from a goodwill trip to Germany to visit U.S. troops, appeared a bit frustrated as he limped slightly to the sideline and spoke to wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal near the end of the team’s last OTA session before next week’s three-day minicamp.
“I was talking to the coach,” Holmes said, referring to Lal, “and letting him understand it was too many reps today.”
Holmes said the team had planned for him to participate in about 35 plays, but he left after cutting it down to about 20 or 25.
“I’ve been gone for a while,” Holmes said, “so I can’t be at full tempo like the rest of these guys and where they want us to be at. So, giving us a few reps off is much-needed for all of us.”
Despite the slight limp, Holmes didn’t say he was injured during the practice.
“We are not here to push you over, ‘Oh, you can do that.’ These are professional athletes. They know their bodies. Santonio knows his body better than anybody, obviously,” said Ryan. “If he thinks he’d be stretching it to give five or 10 extra reps, you have to be smart about it.”
Holmes missed about half of the voluntary workouts while on the USO-sponsored trip to Ramstein Air Base. He said instead of going home to Florida over the weekend before minicamp, he’ll stay close to the facility.
“I’ll stick around,” he said. “I don’t have anywhere to go. I don’t have anything else to do, but football. I’m happy that we started back, but I think catching up from the OTAs that I missed, right now, I’m at OTA five, and the team is at OTA nine or 10, somewhere around that, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do for myself, so as much as I can, stick in my playbook and start back from where I missed as opposed to where these guys are right now.”
Holmes also will attend Sanchez’s “Jets West” camp in southern California next month, a gathering for the offensive skill players to bond on the field and off.
A healthy and content Holmes is key for the Jets to succeed, as is being on the same page with quarterback Mark Sanchez after tensions between the two helped derail the team last season. Both said several months ago that they had moved on from what troubled them – including Holmes getting pulled from the season finale at Miami after arguing with tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle.
Although new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is focused on bringing back a run-heavy, “Ground-and-Pound” style of offense, Holmes will be counted on to make big catches down the field. Sanchez was excited to have Holmes back on the field with the team during OTAs this week.
“It’s great,” Sanchez said. “Just to have his speed and ability is wonderful for us. He’s a heck of a player, so we’re happy with him.”
Holmes said the team has been keeping the offense separate from the defense so far throughout the offseason, something he thinks has built the chemistry between the players on each unit. So, the offense eats together, meets together and lifts together, as does the defense.
“Knowing that we have a new offensive system in place and are all starting from scratch, I think it builds us a lot better by being as one,” Holmes said.
The wide receiver was humbled by going to Germany and seeing wounded soldiers and hearing their stories about battles in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Some in our wide receiving corps are worried about hamstrings to knee injuries, but they have nothing on what these guys have been faced with,” Holmes said. “With the scrap metal from all the bombing and having their trucks blown up in front of their faces to guys just getting shot in the middle of nowhere, it just gives you a different perspective on life.”
NOTES: Ryan praised the team’s “99 percent” attendance rate at OTAs, saying it was the highest turnout for the voluntary practices in his four seasons as coach. … Second-round draft pick WR Stephen Hill had tightness in his right hamstring earlier in the week, and was being cautious by not participating in practice. He said it was “a minor thing” and didn’t require an MRI exam. Ryan said the team will play it safe when determining if he’ll participate in minicamp next week. .. Ryan said S LaRon Landry, who has not been at most of the team’s OTAs while recovering from an Achilles/foot injury that shortened his season last year, will be at minicamp but isn’t sure how limited he’ll be. Ryan added that LB Bryan Thomas (Achilles) and LG Matt Slauson (shoulder) will be limited participants. … Former Jets star cornerback Aaron Glenn is back with the team as a scout. … Ryan and several members of the team went to the theater to watch the coach’s big-screen debut in Adam Sandler’s “That’s My Boy,” in which he plays a Patriots fan: “All I wanted to be was not terrible,” Ryan said. “And, I think I wasn’t terrible. My wife and son said it was OK, so that was good.”
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