‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
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The summers of Victor Cruz and Santonio Holmes will heat up significantly in a week. But for now, they’re using up the bit of free time before training camp in very different ways that befit their current stations in life.
For Cruz, it’s been all good, which is the way it usually goes for the majority of members on any defending Super Bowl champion. It’s been all champagne and flashbulbs for him.
Holmes? He not only spent time growing closer with his good buddy, Mark Sanchez, at the quarterback’s Jets West training sessions in Southern California last week, but even carved out some time during Wednesday’s NFL.com podcast to serve as a part-time journalism professor.
Yup. We sportswriters need a good lesson in comportment every now and then from calm, cool, logical guys like Holmes. But that’s part of what happens when things go downhill as they did for the Jets in 2011. Those pesky negative questions — Were you a cancer on the team? Is the rift with Sanchez in the past? How does this team get back to the playoffs? — tend to carry through the summer until somebody does something to force the media to think otherwise.
Cruz didn’t have to worry about any of that stuff, of course. Now enjoying full-fledged local folk-hero status, he became a celebrity fixture at events like the recent Cartoon Hall of Fame Awards, the ESPYs, supermarket openings, and just about any other hardware exchange imaginable.
If Cruz had to answer any kind of negative question, it no doubt came from the mouth of Peter Schrager, a real good guy whose fantastic and intensely probing labors led to Cruz’ latest activity, promoting the release this week of the memoir Schrager co-wrote with him called “Out of the Blue.” Among other subjects, Cruz details his life growing up in hardscrabble Paterson, N.J., his fireman father’s suicide, and the long road from UMass to Super Bowl champion.
So there he was Tuesday, sitting with Kelly Ripa and Josh Groban on Kelly Live, blithely chatting up the book and his prospects for the season as prelude to his book signings.
Nobody has asked Holmes to sign much of anything. In fact, he and Sanchez were booed when they showed up together at a Knicks game in April.
Since then, the wide receiver has declared Sanchez to be his guy, the rift having gone no further than the last game of 2011 when he and teammates nearly came to blows in the huddle.
Oh, and then there was the lesson for the media.
If you want to be a Jet, act like a Jet and board the bandwagon. What he got wrong is that the media is not, nor want to be, a Jet, or a member of any other team. We’re outsiders, calling them as we see them.
For now, Cruz has reaped the benefits of winning a Super Bowl. There are no negatives.
Holmes has had nothing but a negative offseason, thanks to an 8-8, non-playoff record. He probably can’t wait to start anew, if only to give his media students something more positive to talk about.
Things may change quickly for both men once practice starts next Friday for both teams. No matter how enjoyable or distasteful their respective offseasons have been, everything evens up once the footballs start flying.
Jets fans, think Holmes will make us forget the negativity with his play this year? Be heard in the comments below…