Santonio Holmes couldn’t outrun trouble

By Darrell Laurant  |   Tuesday, June 13, 2006  |  Comments( 1 )

Pittsburgh Steelers
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It seems that rookie Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes is being told to stay after school.

But not because of his arrest for disorderly conduct in Miami Beach on Memorial Day weekend, although Steelers' coach Bill Cowher wasn't exactly delighted to see the name of his team's No. 1 draft choice splashed all over sports pages from Boston to San Diego.

According to reports, Holmes was standing in the street on South Beach during a holiday celebration when a Miami Beach police officer told him to move up on the sidewalk. Holmes resisted, and wound up with the misdemeanor charge.

"If you look at the details, certainly there were a lot of people over the Memorial Day weekend who were arrested," Cowher told the Pittsburgh Press Gazette. "Whatever he did wrong, I don't think he handled it properly.

"I think he'll learn from it. He'll learn to understand the scrutiny he's under. We have not talked face to face about it, but I don't have any long-term concerns. I think he's still a very solid individual, and I'm not going to hold that incident against him, even though we will talk about it."

Translation: Cowher will talk about it, probably forcefully, and Holmes will listen.

A bigger problem has been that Holmes and rookie linebacker Mike Kudla were barred from the Steelers' spring workouts (except for the May 13-15 mini-camp) until Ohio State held its graduation (an agreement worked out several years ago by the NCAA and NFL). So now, even though the Steelers broke camp until August, Holmes will be spending some time in Pittsburgh playing catch with coaches and some players and trying to learn the split end position.

The Steelers traded up seven spots to take Holmes in the first round. They like his speed (4.4 in the 40) and his durability (he never missed a game through injury as a Buckeye), and foresee him as a viable deep threat. He also has the versatility to play either flanker or slot receiver.

Pittsburgh lost Antwaan Randle El to free agency during the off-season, but returns No. 1 receiver Hines Ward and Cedric Wilson as starters, along with veteran Quincy Morgan and reserves Lee Mays, Sean Morey, Walter Young and Nate Washington. Third-round pick Willie Reid from Florida State is also in the mix -- a former running back, he returned 31 punts for 541 yards as a Seminole last season, never fumbling once.

Holmes also had a strong 2005, catching 53 passes for 977 yards (an 18.4 average) and 11 TD's. A native of Belle Glade, FL, he's a cousin of Jacksonville Jaguars' running back Fred Taylor.

In his post-draft press conference, Holmes said a couple of things that he must have known Bill Cowher would like.

"I've been a Steeler fan for 10 or 11 years," was one.

"My biggest asset is my ability to block like Hines Ward," was another.

Prior to the draft, one website pundit praised Holmes' speed, hands and blocking, adding: "He doesn't cause a lot of off the field problems."

Until now, that is. But the Pittsburgh Steelers are apparently willing to give their top prospect the benefit of the doubt.

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