|National Football League|
Jets' Holmes gets advice from Keyshawn at camp
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) Keyshawn Johnson wrapped his arm around Santonio Holmes' shoulder and walked with him from the practice field.
The two laughed a bit as they chatted for a few minutes, one controversial former New York Jets wide receiver giving advice to a current headline-maker.
Yes, really. The guy who once wrote an autobiography called "Just Give Me The Damn Ball!" had some tips to share.
"Pretty much big brother to little brother-type talk," Holmes said Friday after the Jets' first practice of training camp. "Just teaching me how to be cordial to everybody, and to understand what gift I have for this football team and this organization, and just learning how to utilize it."
It was a pep talk Holmes needed to hear.
Holmes has been considered a villain since last season, when he feuded with Mark Sanchez and the offensive linemen and was benched in the regular-season finale after arguing in the huddle. Holmes also recently ruffled some feathers when he said he didn't think a two-quarterback system can work in the NFL - despite the Jets planning to use both Sanchez and Tim Tebow on offense.
Coach Rex Ryan got a bit miffed when he heard that, telling ESPN before training camp that Holmes doesn't need to act like the team's offensive coordinator. That, he said, is Tony Sparano's job.
Holmes said it was "just a joke between us," downplaying the latest mini-controversy of which he was at the center.
"He understands me and I understand him and everything that he says," Holmes said, "and we're not going to take anything from what was said in the media."
Ryan was asked if Holmes' comments were, in fact, just a funny thing.
"Well, sure. If that's what he said, I'm with him all the way," Ryan said, drawing laughter. "But no, the thing that we have to understand is that his job is to come in here and play and all that stuff. We'll worry about all of those situations. Tony and I will figure all that out. Just come in here and be the great player that you are."
Holmes' relationship with the media can also be contentious at times, saying in a recent radio interview that beat reporters should "write positive things" about the Jets.
"My advice was to not pay any attention to it," said the outspoken Johnson, who retired in 2006 after an 11-year career and is currently an analyst for ESPN. "Just go out and play, and let the play speak for you and at the end of the day, you can tell them you know what. I mean, that's the way my approach was, that I'm going to play and do what I need to do and then I'm going to stick my tongue out at you at the end of the day."
Holmes is trying to be positive this season - about Sanchez, Tebow, Sparano and anything else that comes up about the Jets.
"He'll probably grow up a little bit," Johnson said. "I mean, if that's the proper words to use, `growing up.' I think he'll get there. I'm not worried about him."
Holmes acknowledged that there was a lack of trust between all the quarterbacks and receivers last season, saying that it was "all over the place amongst us all." Things began spiraling midway through the season when he criticized the offensive line, who fired back at him.
He stopped short of discussing the relationship he had last season with Sanchez.
"That was last year," he said. "We're moving on right now. Let's talk about something positive and what's going on with our football team."
Well, what's going on is that Sanchez looked pretty sharp on Day 1 of camp, with Holmes coming up with some nice grabs. They even high-fived each other after one early connection.
"It's good to start out like that," Sanchez said. "It's amazing the psychological impact that has not just on a quarterback but on a team. It shows we're all capable of plays like that. We didn't have a lot of that last year."
The two have said they smoothed things over months ago, and spent a lot of time together in the offseason.
"I've learned a lot from him because we've gotten an opportunity to talk a little more on a personal level and understand each other," Holmes said, "the little things we like, the way the ball needs to be placed in each situation. I think the more we continue to work on that, it's only going to get better for us."
That's a good thing for the Jets, who need Sanchez and Holmes to be on the same page at all times. They also need Holmes to stay off the back pages.
"There's so much more media out here in the world, and the scrutiny and Facebooks and social media and all that, that every little word, people hang on," Johnson said. "I think as a player, you've got to know that and let it roll right off your shoulders."
NOTES: Ryan confirmed that Matt Slauson, coming off shoulder surgery, and Vladimir Ducasse are "absolutely" competing for the starting job at left guard. Slauson won the previous competition two years ago. ... Ryan said the team's plan for S LaRon Landry (Achilles/heel) is for him to be at "full-go" every third practice, but the Jets will adjust that as they go along so he doesn't overdo it. ... Rookie WR Stephen Hill, the team's second-round draft pick, impressed Johnson with a solid performance at practice that included a long touchdown catch from Sanchez off a tipped pass by Darrelle Revis. "You have soft hands," Johnson said to Hill after meeting him. "I saw you make a nice little grab there." Johnson also said he also saw some of himself in Hill, who is the same height at 6-foot-4. "Always play big," he told Hill. "Don't try to play big and be small out there." ... Jeff Otah, acquired from Carolina to compete with Wayne Hunter for the starting job at RT, still hasn't passed his physical and isn't sure if or when he will. The trade would be nullified if Otah (knee) can't complete running drills within a week. ... LB David Harris walked off the field gingerly midway through practice, favoring his right leg but came back with a wrap on a few minutes later. He said he had "a gash" in his lower leg that needed to be treated, but was "no big deal at all."
Updated July 27, 2012