Sunday, April 11, 2010

Santonio Holmes Traded

According to multiple sources, including ESPN, the Steelers have traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a 5th round draft pick.

Word had come out this week that in addition to the case in Florida, where Holmes was accused of throwing a glass of booze at a woman, he could face a 4 game suspension for violations of league policy. Rumor also has it that Santonio could face a season-long suspension if convicted in Florida. The Steelers have a history of not putting up with players, and this is just one more example of the Rooney's stance. In the past, people have noted that the Steelers are less harsh on their star players, pointing out that guys like Cedrick Wilson were cut immediately whereas guys like Ben and Tone were allowed to keep playing. This move is obviously going to have reactions across the fan base. Some fans will love it, saying that it's good to jettison (pun intended) players that aren't up to the Steelers standard. Others will be confused about why we didn't get more than a 5th round pick for him. And still others will think it's a terrible move to trade a former first round pick and Super Bowl MVP.

We acknowledge that there have been consistency issues in the way the Rooneys have handled players with legal problems in the past. However, we trust the Rooney's to make good informed personnel decisions. Kevin Colbert, the director of player personnel, is one of the best in the business and we would trust him with our bank accounts, if we had any. You've got to believe that this wasn't a move made on a whim. The Steelers rarely do that. Chances are, they had been testing the waters for some time and this was the best deal they thought they could make.

If anything, this should be a wake-up call to Ben Roethlisberger. Holmes was a first round pick and Super Bowl MVP. Holmes has also had multiple legal problems off the field, the current situation being his fourth run-in with the law since being drafted.

All hope is not lost for the Steelers. Their current depth chart at wide receiver looks something like this: Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle, Tyler Grisham, Limas Sweed. This drastically increases the chances that the Steelers will target a WR early in the draft. This past week they brought in Dez Bryant (WR-Oklahoma St), Golden Tate (WR-Notre Dame) and Arrelious Benn (WR-Illinois) for visits. The Steelers now have 4 picks in the 5th round of the draft, giving them significant ammunition should they look to trade up in any round in the draft.

To be honest, we were shocked by the move and didn't believe it at first. It would have been awesome if we could have landed a guy like Leon Washington in the trade as well, which still could happen because things are not yet finalized. If you remember from before free agency, we absolutely loved Washington's abilities as a change-of-pace back and kick returner.

Tone had his share of off-field issues and turns 26 this year. The Steelers play the Jets at home this year. Will Tone get booed or cheered by the Heinz Field faithful? While we disproved of Santonio's actions off the field, he had some great success on the field. The one thing he could always be counted on? Coming up big against Baltimore - he had TDs in the Steelers last 7 games against the Ravens.

As a final farewell to Tone, here are our Top 5 Memories of Santonio Holmes in Black & Gold.

#5: Santonio scores in OT to beat Cincinnati

In his rookie year, Santonio ended the season and sent Bill Cowher out a winner. Holmes caught a slant pass from Ben Roethlisberger in overtime at Cincinnati and turned it upfield, taking it 67 yards for the score. Cincinnati needed the win to get into the playoffs and Tone sent them home packing.

#4 Touchdown vs Baltimore on Monday Night in 2008.

The Steelers were down and going nowhere on offense against the Ravens. Baltimore was controlling the game and beating us physically. The Steelers were held without a first down from their second drive until the middle of the third quarter. Then, on a 3rd and 4, Ben hit Tone on a quick slant. Tone spun away from Chris McAllister then blew past Ed Reed for the score. They blasted Renegade during the commercial break and on the first play from scrimmage Harrison stripped Flacco and Woodley returned it for a touchdown. 14 points in 20 seconds, what a gamechanging set of plays.

#3 Punt Return TD vs San Diego 2008 Playoffs

With the Steelers down 7-0 to the Chargers, Holmes changed the game by taking a punt back to the house, including a hurdle of one of the Charger defenders down the sideline. The punt return totally changed the makeup of the game. The Steelers seized the momentum and never gave it back, routing the Chargers and moving on to the AFC Championship Game.

#2 Steelers win the AFC North 2008 vs Baltimore

The Steelers trailed 9-6 when they got the ball back for their final drive on their own 2. They had struggled to move the ball all day, but Ben Roethlisberger put together a great drive to carry them down the field. The drive was capped off by Tone's diving catch at the goal line that sealed the game and the division crown.

#1 Super Bowl XLIII Game Winning TD

Really, what else would it be? With just over 30 seconds to play, Santonio got 2 feet down in the corner of the end zone with 3 Arizona defenders covering him. The play made our "Top Plays of the Decade" list at #2, only topped by James Harrison's 100-yard pick-six in the same game. For his work on the final drive and the game winning catch, Holmes was awarded Super Bowl XLIII MVP.

Best of luck in New York Santonio. Our advice to you?
Don't carry a loaded gun in your sweatpants.

In the Rooneys We Trust.

Go Steelers.

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