Steelers' Holmes, facing drug charge, won't play Sunday
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Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes did not practice with the team today and will not play in Sunday's game against the New York Giants after police said they stopped him with marijuana yesterday.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Holmes, a third-year receiver who is second on the team with 22 catches and 360 yards receiving, will be listed as inactive for the game. He declined to say if Holmes had been suspended by the team or docked one game's pay.
"At this point we've chosen to name him as inactive," Tomlin said after practice. "His situation has created somewhat of a distraction and we want to minimize that as much as we can and remain focused on the task at hand."
Tomlin met with Holmes earlier today and told him he will not be allowed on the sidelines at Heinz Field and to report back to work Monday.
Contacted at home, Holmes said he had no comment.
An NFL spokesman said the matter is being reviewed under the league's substance abuse policy. However, he said the league would not comment.
"We're paid to deal with distractions; the great teams are ones that do," Tomlin said. "They find a way to get the job done. When you're a good team, there are going to be distractions because with good teams there comes attention."
Holmes will be replaced in the starting lineup by Nate Washington, who has touchdown catches of 48 and 50 yards the past two games.
Pittsburgh police pulled Holmes over in the Hill District and found three marijuana-filled cigars yesterday while they were on the lookout for a large stash of drugs in a sport utility vehicle.
Holmes, 24, of Ohio Township, told officers he had smoked marijuana in his sport utility vehicle the day before, according to a police affidavit, but he was not impaired at the time of the traffic stop around 4 p.m. at Centre Avenue and Mario Lemieux Place.
Police let Holmes go and will charge him by summons through the mail with one misdemeanor count of prohibited acts -- in this case having a small amount of marijuana for personal use.
It could not immediately be determined whether Holmes' SUV was the intended target of police officers at the Hill District station, but The Associated Press reported that the vehicle was not the one officers were seeking.
At the 3 p.m. roll call, the officers were told to look for an SUV with an out-of-state license plate traveling through the Hill with a "large amount of narcotics," the police affidavit said.
An hour later, Officer Thomas Gorecki spotted Holmes' black SUV with Florida plates and pulled it over.
Holmes did not have his driver's license but handed over his registration and insurance paperwork.
Officers said they smelled marijuana in the SUV. Officer John Kusenko asked Holmes if he had been smoking marijuana in the SUV that day.
"No," Holmes told officers, according to the affidavit, "but yesterday I was."
Police said Holmes told them he had marijuana in the vehicle. He pointed out two marijuana-filled cigars, known as "blunts," in a vehicle compartment. Officers found a third blunt from a pack of cigars in the center console.
Yesterday's incident is the latest in a string of legal troubles for Holmes. In June 2006, he was arrested in Ohio on domestic violence charges, which were later dismissed. The charges stemmed from an incident involving LaShae Boone of Columbus, the mother of one of his three children. The charges were dismissed after the judge in the case was assured by Holmes' lawyers that their client was participating in ongoing counseling offered through the NFL.
Holmes also was arrested in South Beach, Fla., for disorderly conduct during a Memorial Day weekend crackdown by local authorities in 2006. That charge was later dropped in exchange for a $250 donation to the Police Officers Assistance Trust Fund.
First Published October 24, 2008 2:14 am