Steelers' Holmes speaks publicly for first time since arrest

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Santonio Holmes said he would have made a difference in the outcome if he had played for the Steelers Sunday in their 21-14 loss to the New York Giants.

"I know I would ... yes, but I wasn't there to help the team," Holmes said today, speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest for possessing a small amount of marijuana last Thursday.

Coach Mike Tomlin deactivated Holmes, the team's starting split end and second-leading receiver, for the game against the Giants the day after his arrest.

Nate Washington replaced him and caught one pass, for a 65-yard touchdown, but it also forced the Steelers to use two inexperienced receivers, rookie Limas Sweed and second-year player Dallas Baker. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his worst game of the season, completing just 13 of 29 passes and throwing four interceptions.

"Having a young guy in with Sweed filling in and not being on the same page with Ben, not having as many reps throughout practice and not having the experience being in that tough situation, I feel I could have made big progress with the team," Holmes said.

Holmes would not comment on his feelings about not being activated for the game or whether he will fight the charges Pittsburgh police filed against him.

He did say watching the Steelers lose to the Giants was "real tough."

"It really hurts, this is my first time ever having to sit down and watch my team play and not even be part of it whether I was injured or not," Holmes said. "It's all personal feelings that can't even be described."

Holmes said he does not care whethersome people doubt him now.

"Who cares. I really don'.t. I'm here to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and I'm pretty sure all my guys in this locker room believe I'm capable of getting out on the field Monday night and producing for these guys."

The Steelers play at the Washington Redskins Monday night. Tomlin said Holmes will start.



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