Santonio Holmes has first practice
The team is whole -- well, as whole as it's going to be in 2010.
Reinstated wide receiver Santonio Holmes, having served his four-game drug suspension, rejoined the New York Jets Wednesday for the first of four practices this week in preparation for the Minnesota Vikings. Holmes was a few minutes late for practice, but showed up in time to join his teammates for the early portion stretching period.
"I was a little upbeat this morning," he said. "I was up early, walking the dog, got myself situated, driving to practice ready to go. I sat in meetings at attention. Everything was a little bit different."
Holmes, acquired from Pittsburgh in April, is expected to make his regular-season debut for the Jets on Monday night against the Vikings. He was forced to sit the first four regular-season games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
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"I'm ready to get the season started for myself," he said.
While he hadn't practiced since camp ended, Holmes was able to attend meetings during his suspension. He used the rest of the time to stay in shape -- not to reflect on what he had done to put him in that situation.
"To look in your eyes and be honest with you, not 1 percent," Holmes said. "I've been the same person since I stepped foot in the NFL. I'll continue being the same person until I leave. I didn't have anything to think about. Everything was already done in the process. It's time to play football now."
The former Super Bowl MVP came to the Jets with some off-field issues other than the suspension. He was arrested in 2008 for possession of marijuana and involved in a domestic violence incident in 2006; the misdemeanor charges were later dismissed.
Holmes said those incidents had no impact on his performance on the field.
"I made it to the Super Bowl and won it, didn't I?" Holmes said. "That's all I had to do with myself. I didn't have anything to think about. I'm a football player. What happens off the field happens off the field. It doesn't affect anything I do or what I'm capable of doing."
Also Wednesday, cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) practiced again, another step toward making his return against the Vikings. Coach Rex Ryan has expressed optimism about Revis this week, so unless there's a setback in practice, he should be on the field Monday night.
His archrival, Randy Moss, will be there waiting for him, as the Vikings traded for Moss in an attempt to save their season.
Will Revis cover Moss, as per usual? Will Ryan put Antonio Cromartie on Moss? In the Week 2 meeting between the Jets and Patriots, Cromartie held Moss without a catch in the second half, stepping in when Revis injured his hamstring.
In a minor roster move, wide receiver Patrick Turner was re-signed to the practice squad. Wideout Larry Taylor was released from the practice squad.
Holmes will join an offense that has already been solid through four games, with Mark Sanchez throwing eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.
"I think he's going to be a huge thing for us," coach Rex Ryan said. "He looks like he hasn't missed a beat. He looked good."
Not that being away was easy for Holmes.
"It's a totally different mindset," he said. "You can't be in the same mindset as a player. It's tough, you know, being an outcast."
He was welcomed by his teammates and coaches whenever he was at the facility, when he wasn't working out in Florida for four hours a day. Holmes still needed to think of himself as someone who wasn't a true part of the team.
"It's a mindset that I had to use," Holmes said, "that I'm not playing, can't think like I'm on the field yet. Go to meetings, learn and keep moving."
He isn't concerned where he'll be used on the field. Holmes is just happy to be back, as are his teammates.
"He's just somebody who has big-play potential," Sanchez said. "He catches an underneath route and has the ability to run by people. He'll be perfect for our group."
Once he got back on the field, it didn't take him long to feel comfortable.
"It's football," he said. "I've been doing this since I was 7 years old. It's not like I became a professional football player yesterday or five years ago. I've been playing ball since I was a kid. I've learned the ins and outs, the ups and downs of the game. The media, the different aspects, whatever it is, I'm on top of everything."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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