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News » MVP sets up Steelers receiver Holmes


MVP sets up Steelers receiver Holmes


MVP sets up Steelers receiver Holmes
TAMPA ? It could have been from a lack of sleep, although Santonio Holmes' celebration after Super Bowl XLIII included watching "Madagascar 2" with his kids.


It could have been that Holmes had yet to fully grasp the gravity of what he had accomplished. After all, it was less than a day since he starred in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

Whatever the case, after Holmes addressed reporters Monday morning he nearly left the silver trophy he was awarded as a freshly minted Super Bowl MVP sitting on the podium.

The Steelers' wide receiver, as the Arizona Cardinals can attest, did not leave anything on the field Sunday night. Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown after making a spectacular reception in the back corner of the end zone.

The Steelers' 27-23 win, a one-for-the-ages victory at Raymond James Stadium, marked an end in one sense but it may just be the beginning for Holmes.

"It should earmark him for a great career," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "If he'll take it and be positive, have a great offseason and build on it, he's a star in the future."

Holmes looked poised for a breakout season after leading the NFL in yards per catch (18.1) in 2007.

The third-year professional, however, got off to a slow start, and coach Mike Tomlin deactivated Holmes for a game in late October after he got stopped by Pittsburgh police and was later charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Holmes initially disagreed with Tomlin's decision to essentially suspend the 5-11, 192-pound speedster for a game. Looking back, Holmes said, "I see that he put me in a better situation by handling the situation firsthand, getting the distractions away from the team, and away from myself, and allowing me to come back to the team the following week, ready to go."

Holmes did not have a 100-yard receiving game during the regular season but he made one key catch after another, especially down the stretch.

His 47-yard reception against the Dallas Cowboys jumpstarted the offense and helped the Steelers rally from a 13-3 fourth-quarter deficit. A week later he caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to cap a 92-yard drive that beat the Ravens in Baltimore.

Holmes used the postseason to showcase his playmaking skills as he had both a punt return and a reception that exceeded 60 yards and went for a touchdown.

What he did against the San Diego Chargers and Ravens merely served as a prelude to the Super Bowl, and Holmes became the first wide receiver to win game MVP honors since Hines Ward accomplished the feat in 2006.

"I told him, 'Don't let it get to your head' because the sky's the limit for that guy," Roethlisberger said. "He has potential to go where no other wide receiver has ever gone."

Holmes showed what he is capable of doing against the Cardinals, and four of his receptions came on the Steelers' final drive of the season.

His last catch may have been the best one this season by a Steeler.

He raised on his toes like a ballerina and snagged the bullet Roethlisberger had thrown before falling out of bounds.

"I'm glad he gets pedicures," Steelers left tackles Max Starks said of Holmes' catch. "His toes have saved us on more than one occasion and put us in the position we're in."

Holmes said Ward talked to him briefly about how his life will change after becoming a Super Bowl MVP. The advice he imparted to the former first-round draft pick: Stay humble and don't forget where you came from.

To Holmes, it's not just a matter of where he came from but also where he wants to go, and his Super Bowl heroics may just have been a start.

"I think that hoisting that sticky Lombardi Trophy works out more in my favor than anything," Holmes said.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 4, 2009

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