Jump to content

Mark Sanchez says rift with Santonio Holmes is 'ancient history'


Recommended Posts

NEW YORK -- Mark Sanchez preferred not to divulge all the specifics of his reconciliation with Santonio Holmes.

The Jets quarterback said simply that he and his No. 1 receiver met in Orlando, Fla., a “few weeks ago.” No other players were involved. Most importantly, it was a “productive meeting.”

The future of the Jets depends on that being the case. Sanchez and Holmes were at the center of a well-documented locker-room rift last season, tangible enough that veteran LaDainian Tomlinson has said teammates called it “East Coast-West Coast beef,” a nod to the players’ hometowns.

For the Jets to improve on their 8-8 record, and return to the playoffs, Sanchez and Holmes have to be in harmony -- not to mention the Jets owe $35.75 million in fully guaranteed money to the duo over the next two seasons. At least in the light of the offseason, Sanchez says he and Holmes are again on the same page, greased by “constant communication.”

“I know it can work between us,” Sanchez said today, before being honored by the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation at its Fielding Dreams Gala in SoHo. “It’s not a question of if, it’s just a matter of when, and that’s now. So I’m thrilled about that.”

Sanchez said he could not pinpoint when his relationship with Holmes began to sour. Holmes made a few critical comments through the media early in the season, questioning Sanchez and the offensive line. The tension bubbled over publicly in the season finale at Miami, when Holmes was benched for the final two minutes of the game after fighting with a teammate in the huddle.

Sanchez did not want to speak for Holmes but took his share of responsibility for the frayed relationship.

“I underachieved,” Sanchez said. “There are some things I could have handled better with him and our communication.”

Of course, many of the fingers pointed at Holmes as the Jets sifted through the rubble of a disappointing season that was derailed, at least in part, by the lack of team chemistry. After Holmes’ benching in Miami, teammates said that he quit on the team and refused to listen to Sanchez.

In the week before the season-ending loss to the Dolphins, Holmes picked a fight with Sanchez in a players’ only film session arranged by the quarterback.

“People are going to take that the way they want to, that’s fine,” Sanchez said. “But we’ve had a good talk. I think that’s all in the past, and I’m really not thinking about it too much. It seems like ancient history after we’ve talked.”

Holmes trains during the offseason in Orlando, which is where Sanchez said the hashing out of the issues took place. They both had “strong feelings” about what happened in Miami, for starters.

But Sanchez said when they got together, they were able to smile about it: Sanchez told Holmes, “This thing took on a life of its own,” and Holmes replied, “You’re telling me.”

The key, Sanchez said, is to learn from what happened in 2011 -- and heed those lessons when the stresses of the season return. Sanchez maintains that the characterizations of a toxic locker room were “blown out” of proportion, including rookie Greg McElroy’s critical comments.

But Tomlinson, a respected veteran, also called the Jets’ locker room discord the worst he’s seen.

“I just don’t think we handled a lot of the criticism the right way,” Sanchez said. “Guys weren’t used to that. It was a new experience for a lot of people.”

Sanchez must play a central role in keeping the Jets on course in 2012 and beyond. When he received a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension Friday, he said “it gives the team just a reminder that I’m the leader of this team,” a remark he regrets.

Given a chance to rephrase, Sanchez said he knows “leadership is earned,” and his role as a leader is continuing to grow. He kept quiet during the tumultuous post-mortem on the Jets' season, which led some outsiders to question his leadership, but Sanchez said all along he has been focused on responding in the way that really matters: the 2012 season.

“No matter what you say, whether I come back to try to defend myself or not, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Unless you go win games. That’s the ultimate goal, that’s the ultimate defense, is just winning games. Go win games next year, and play well, and this is all a distant memory and a great lesson.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...