The Message of Santonio Holmes
By Zoltan Paksa
While many NFL fans were shocked by how cheap the New York Jets got the MVP of Superbowl XLIII; Santonio Holmes; I see logic why the Steelers made that move. To save the face of the franchise. “If you’re making troubles off the field; if you making headlines for the wrong reasons; you have no future with this team”.I’m 100% sure this was a message for Steelers QB Ben Roetlishberger; one more adventure in a nightclub; and no matter how great player you are; or what you have done for this team; you’ll be next! We can cut or trade you; if you continue being a headache for this franchise. (So If Big Ben is found doing one more stupid thing; don’t be shocked if you see him traded away…)
Well; now you can ask why I am writing about the Steelers and their moves. Well; because I think under GM Gene Smith; the Jaguars believe in this kind of mentality, and I don’t blame them! Not so long ago many players of the Jaguars organization caused a lot of trouble with their legal issues. Arrests and similar not so happy headlines were an all too often seen thing. The Jaguars started to become the “Bengals of South”. I’m sure owner Wayne Weaver did not want a title like that for his team!
When Gene Smith was promoted to “General Manager” of the Jaguars; he had another goal among rebuilding the franchise. He had to change the image of the team as well. And he was not afraid to take the hard road. Gerald Sensabaugh – you been arrested-sorry no new contract for you: Reggie Williams- arrested twice a month? Forget about a contract extension. Matt Jones; you were the best WR in 2008; but you can’t keep yourself clean? Bye-bye! Then he signed high character guys in free agency. Tra Thomas; Torry Holt; Sean Considine. All 3 are classy guys. Then he drafted high character guys; former team captains; mostly seniors (Eben Britton was the only junior!). Coincidence? I don’t think so. Then he signed this year Aaron Kampman; Mr. Work-ethic; and Kassim Osgood; a classy guy; who have 1 goal right now; to prove everyone that he is not just a great ST player; but a dependable WR. Character and great work ethic. I think that is a signature of a Gene Smith type of guy!
And since Gene is the GM the Jaguars have a very serious off the field policy. Mike Sims Walker; you are the NR. 1 WR of this team. But if you are not in your room when you should be-1 game suspension (The Jags did it in Seattle). You did something wrong; you will be responsible for that. The biggest trouble where a Jaguars player was involved during the 2009 season was Quentin Groves in a car accident… No arrest; no headlines for the wrong reason in Sportscenter. None. Give Gene credit for that.
I’m 100% sure if a player in the Jaguars organization caused headaches for bad behaviour or poor judgement; the results will be similar like what we seen yesterday with Santonio Holmes. I have no doubt in my mind; if Mike Sims-Walker or Justin Durant or anyone else has too many troubles; Gene will cut/trade him; without any hesitation. Save the face of the franchise-remeber that mentality! Be the “OFF THE FIELD” good guys team. Yeah; I heard often the false impression that the Jaguars might be drafting and signing choir boys lately –WRONG! Look and see the Colts or the Patriots! Are we hearing often players of their organization getting into legal troubles? No. Are they good? You betcha. Being classy of the field not equals choir boys! Character matters! You can be one of the best freakish athlete; but if you turn out to be a Plaxico Burress outside the field; well then you have no place in the Jaguars roster.
I’m 100% sure Gene Smith did his homework not just on the players athlethic abilities; but on their personalities; and work ethics as well. I 100% support this kind of mentality. I don’t know which players will be selecting this year by Gene but I want to see 2 things in common in all of them. Great character; and 1st class work ethic. We have a mantra about the draft already: In Gene we trust. I add one mantra&message for him: Draft character; not -just- statistics!