"I was very happy to get a second opportunity to play football and not really be concerned about what was going on," admitted Holmes. "I had talked to Hines Ward prior to that happening. These type of things happen to big-time players. All you can do is just keep replenishing your career. If you get an opportunity to move somewhere else, don't give up on yourself because someone else did. That's exactly what I didn't do."
Holmes can be philosophical now, largely because he's enjoying success in his new home. While he recalls the good times, he also knows the danger which Pittsburgh poses to the Jets.
Holmes reflected on his four seasons in the Steel City marveling at the play of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Holmes hinted that the Jets will need to find a way to neutralize Polamalu if they hope to hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy on Sunday.
"With all due respect, I honestly think Troy Polamalu is probably the greatest player I've ever played with or ever seen play in person," declared Holmes. "He's jumping over the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball. He's tackling running backs in the backfield. He's jumping up, intercepting balls one- handed. He's returning it for touchdowns. Having him keyed in and keeping the ball away from him, playing sound football and not turning it over and giving him any opportunities to make those type of plays can definitely keep him from disrupting our team."
The Super Bowl XLIII MVP views the Steelers as merely a hurdle for his Jets to overcome in order to reach their ultimate goal. Holmes has brushed aside his personal battles and insists that his teammates should follow in suit.
It's any other game for Holmes, even if the black and gold crowd on Sunday used to cheer wildly for him.
"The personal game was (Week 15) when we played the Steelers," noted Holmes. "This time it means everything, everything for myself, for this team, for this organization. We're trying to get to the Super Bowl. Those guys are in my team's way, which is the New York Jets. We have one goal, which is to beat those guys, and everything personal that happened (will be reflected) two or three weeks after. If we win the Super Bowl, then everything is personal. That's a slap back in those guys' face for trading me. Right now, it's not even a focus of mine, and it shouldn't be the focus of any one of my teammates or anyone in this organization."
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