"Why Should I?"
This was the response that New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes gave to reporters when asked whether he had regrets from last season. The former Super Bowl MVP showed no remorse when bombarded by questions relating to his conduct last year. Dancing around hard-hitting questions and deflecting any blame; Holmes insisted he remains focused on the year ahead.
But will Holmes be able to escape the endless questions from disappointed Jets fans? After last year's final game, which saw the Jets lose to the Miami Dolphins and fall out of playoff contention, many wondered if Holmes was mentally and emotional invested in the team. His conduct in the locker room was self-serving and many of his teammates resented Holmes' selfishness behavior.
Any way you slice it, Holmes was putting his own interests ahead of the team's.
Head coach Rex Ryan announced he will not select a team captain moving forward for fear that last year's chemistry problems would resurface yet again.
In 2011 the Jets fell shy of the postseason for first time in young quarterback Mark Sanchez's three-year NFL career. Sanchez and Holmes have started to mend the fences as they began training with Patrick Turner and Dustin Keller at ABC's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. last week. In spite of this recent development, Holmes still refuses to talk about the team's regular season finale in Miami during which he got into a heated verbal exchange with offensive lineman Wayne Hunter, and was benched for the remainder of the contest.
"What happens in Miami, stays down in Miami," Holmes said.
But does what happened in 2011 stay in 2011?
Last year Holmes' production fell off from his season totals in years prior. Despite setting a new career-high in touchdowns (8), he completed the season with only 51 catches, the second lowest total of his career, and set career lows in receiving yards (654) and yards per reception (12.8). In spite of all of the tension stemming from last year's frustrations, Holmes never demanded a trade from New York and confirmed to reporters that he always saw himself returning to the franchise for 2012.
But which Santonio Holmes will return to the Green and White this year?
The selfish player who was benched for the last game of the year?
The dynamic receiver who carried the Jets to the verge of a Super Bowl berth in 2010?
That is up to Holmes himself. Only Holmes and Holmes alone can answer these pressing questions.