FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Santonio Holmes’ return to the football field was marked by one catch, 45 snaps and no setbacks.
Holmes missed nearly a year with a serious foot injury that at one point appeared to threaten his availability for this season – and possibly beyond.READ MORE: Long Island Pays Tribute To Health Care Heroes And Lives Lost As Pandemic Reaches 1-Year Mark
He had one reception for 13 yards in the Jets’ 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I survived,” Holmes said Tuesday. “That’s probably the biggest thing I can say right now, is that I survived and got through it OK. No injuries, so pretty good.”
He injured his left foot last Sept. 30 and needed two surgeries to repair it, including one procedure to remove screws. Holmes had been coy about his progress for most of training camp, but improved to the point where he was able to practice quite a bit last week and complete his comeback.
Despite playing 45 of the Jets’ 77 offensive snaps, Holmes acknowledged he was “frustrated” at times at having to come out of the game as the team tried to ease him back.
“It was (out of) respect for what the coaches and the trainers had talked about,” he said. “I had to understand that they were going to play me accordingly.”
“I wanted to play more myself,” he added.
Holmes indicated he could have played a lot more, a promising sign for a team that needs perhaps its biggest playmaker healthy.
“It’s football season,” he said. “It’s go-time. No point of holding anything back right now. But like I said, I have to respect the (plan) the coaches and the trainers have for me.”READ MORE: COVID Vaccine: CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez Has What You Need To Know About The Johnson & Johnson Shot
Holmes said all that mattered was the Jets won the game.
“We won the game and I think that’s the most important thing,” he said. “Not about how many snaps I played or how many catches I was able to make.”
He may have an increased role Thursday night at New England with Jeremy Kerley likely out with a concussion. The Jets also re-signed wide receiver Ben Obomanu as insurance, in case Kerley can’t go.
Holmes was asked if he expects to play more against the Patriots.
“I expect Kerley to be healthy, which is not going to happen right now,” he said. “I really don’t know. It depends on how the game plan goes. Up until this point, Coach Marty (Mornhinweg) loves to throw the ball. All of our receivers are on deck this week and we all have to be ready to sub in and out for guys when needed.”
Holmes had strong criticisms of the artificial surfaces that many football stadiums, including MetLife Stadium, are using instead of natural grass. But, the receiver didn’t blame the field conditions for his injury last season.
“It’s just not real,” Holmes said. “It doesn’t feel the same. It’s totally different from grass. It’s unexplainable to a person who (doesn’t) perform on the field like we do. The grass feels better, softer on the feet. But to run on rubber pellets and things like that is just totally not acceptable for what we, as football players, (who) grew up playing on solid grass and now we’re playing on something totally different.”
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