The Steelers today wind up their spring workouts, and that comes none too soon for wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
Holmes doesn't care much for all the football practices that take place in the "offseason" and would like to see coaches reduce the amount of time players spend on the practice fields from April into June.
Toward that end, Holmes called his own timeout over the past few weeks. He pulled on his practice jersey and attended workouts but did little on the field in team drills during that time. He stayed out again yesterday and said he won't practice in today's final session.
"Just a lot of soreness throughout the whole body," Holmes gave as his reason, "from all of these days going back to back, back to back. It's kind of like guys were expecting more time off during the offseason, but this offseason we've had more time in. It's taken a little wear and tear, now it's time to rest the body a little bit."
The NFL permits 14 of what are called organized team activities (OTAs) in the offseason, plus one three-day, five-practice minicamp. Coach Mike Tomlin had two OTAs before the draft, conducted the required minicamp the weekend after the draft, took two weeks off and scheduled the remaining 12 OTAs three times a week over the past four weeks.
In addition, players are encouraged to report for duty in February to begin more informal offseason workouts and many also show up the two days a week in which OTAs were not scheduled the past four weeks.
It's all too much, Holmes said.
"Honestly, I would prefer they cut down on some of the time," he said.
He thinks some older players need to say it, too, because as one who has played only two years in the league, his opinion might not carry as much weight.
"I would leave that up to the veterans to say, 'OK, look coach, over the course of the years it's starting to get a little bit too much wear and tear on the body. If you want to preserve these young guys to continue to play for a number years in this program, there should be something done about it.' "
Holmes, who led the NFL with an average of 18.1 yards per catch last season, hopes that by saving himself some this spring it will allow him to be fresher when training camp practices begin July 28.
"There's no point right now. I want to come into camp 100 percent, I don't want to come out here and fatigue the body and tear hamstrings, quads, hurt ankles -- you know, whatever it may be through the course of trying to finish up these last two, three days."
Ed Bouchette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .