Five years ago, Santonio Holmes had it all. In February 2009, he made one of the most memorable game-winning catches in NFL history, winning the Super Bowl and driving off in something other than a Hyundai, as the game’s MVP. The following season, he generated a career-high 1,248 receiving yards.
And then the wheels came off.
With a four-game suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy coming on the heels of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s misadventures in Milledgeville, Georgia, Holmes became the scapegoat for a Steelers team gone smei-rogue, with a bargain-basement trade to the Jets.
But it never really clicked for him in New York, even though he did enough in 2010 to finagle a huge contract. A disappointing 2011 season ended with Holmes behaving badly, but the Jets nevertheless keeping him around. In hindsight, they surely wish they hadn’t.
Holmes suffered a serious foot injury in September 2012, and he appeared in only 11 games last year, catching 23 passes for 456 yards.
Cut in the offseason, Holmes has been available into August primarily due to concerns about his foot. The Bears, in need of a third receiver behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery after the season-ending clavicle injury to Marquess Wilson, have opted to take a flier on Holmes. The team has announced that Holmes has signed a one-year deal. To create a roster spot for Holmes, the Bears cut receiver Eric Weems.
Weems spent two years with the Bears after five in Atlanta. He had been listed as the top kickoff and punt returner on the Bears’ officially unofficial depth chart.
If Holmes is healthy, he could flourish in Marc Trestman’s offense. Holmes hasn’t worked with a franchise quarterback since Roethlisberger, and Holmes will never see double coverage, not with Marshall and Jeffery on the field.
It’s fair to wonder about his attitude. But if he hasn’t been humbled by the events of the last two year, he never will be.