Vet Wide Receiver Says He Doesn't Feel Like Re-Connecting With Former Teammates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On one hand he appears to be a more contrite Santonio Holmes. But on the other, he seems as ornery as ever.

The volatile wide receiver will make his return to MetLife Stadium on Monday night when his new team, the Chicago Bears, takes on his old one, the New York Jets.

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It seems like old times as there’s no telling what will be said — or left unsaid — once Holmes hits the field.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Holmes has not received a single text from his former teammates and doesn’t plan on shaking hands with anyone in green prior to Monday’s kickoff.

“I’m here now. My focus is to help the Chicago Bears make plays and win ballgames, not really focusing on any other team,” he told the newspaper.

Now the Bears’ third receiver, Holmes had moments of brilliance during his four-year run with the Jets, playing a huge role as a playmaker during the 2010 season, which ended with the Jets losing in the AFC championship game for the second straight season.

His play deteriorated over his next three seasons. He played a full 16 games in 2011, but ended up with one less catch (51) and 92 less yards (654) than he had the previous season, in which he played in just 12 games.

Though Holmes finished with eight touchdowns in 2011, that season was marred by an incident during the Week 17 matchup with the Dolphins in Miami. Late in the game he got into an argument with his teammates in the huddle and that eventually led to his benching. The Jets went on to lose and missed the playoffs.

“I don’t remember 2011,” Holmes told Newsday recently.

The next two seasons featured Holmes playing in just 15 games due to injuries. The former Super Bowl MVP with the Pittsburgh Steelers had 23 receptions, 456 yards and a single TD last season as the Jets finished a surprising 8-8. He was released during the offseason.

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Holmes wasn’t the easiest guy with the media. Sometimes he was cooperative and other times he was adversarial. When he spoke to Newsday he reflected a bit on his time with the Jets, revealing he actually enjoyed himself, characterizing his tenure as a “great four years.”

The nine-year veteran also had very nice things to say about Jets quarterback Geno Smith and head coach Rex Ryan, who has said several times that he liked and respected Holmes as a player.

On then-rookie Smith, Holmes told Newsday, “He did exactly what the coaches wanted him to do, minus the few turnovers and mistakes. But that’s what young quarterbacks who want to be great try, to make as many plays as they can, and sometimes things happen.

“But as far as what he’s done, he’s definitely grown into that starting role. He’s taken on that leadership role very well.”

As for Ryan, Holmes said, “As far as him being the head coach, he’s a great guy. He accepted me through all the trials and tribulations, gave me an opportunity to be a great player for him, and I really thank him for it.”

But that doesn’t mean it will be a lovefest when Santonio comes to town on Monday.

“Right now there really aren’t any (emotions),” he said. “Be ready, do my job, make some plays for this team and come home with a ‘W’.”

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