Santonio Holmes An Integral Piece Of Steelers Lore As He Returns Home


You know, I wasn’t exactly anticipating that we would be seeing a retirement press conference for Santonio Holmes with the Pittsburgh Steelers any time soon, but hey, I’m not going to complain about the opportunity to take a bit of a trip down memory lane.

After all, while his tenure in Pittsburgh may at times have been tumultuous, and the parting was not exactly on the greatest of terms, Holmes is and will forever be an integral part of the Steelers’ championship legacy, which is something that nobody, and nothing, can ever take away from him, or from the annals of team history.

The 25th-overall draft pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, he was able to work his way into the starting lineup by the end of his rookie season, ending up with 49 receptions—on an offense that did not throw the ball as much as it does today—for 824 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Though he missed three games in his sophomore season, he still came up just 58 yards shy of a 1000-yard season on 52 receptions, with eight touchdowns, leading the team in most of those receiving categories.

But it was his 2008 season that will be forever remembered—or to be more accurate, the postseason run. The Steelers’ offense during the 2009 regular season was meager at best, to be frank, behind a piecemeal offensive line bereft of its former talent, injuries at running back (hello, Mewelde Moore), and a quarterback that was constantly banged up, despite never missing a game.


Holmes served a one-game suspension on a drug violation imposed by the team, and had his personal and professional ups and downs, but I think the stat line of 9-131-1 is something that a lot of Steelers fans would be able to identify without much thought.

It was Holmes’ stat line in the Super Bowl that year—nine receptions for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown. It was a performance to remember, for certain, and one of the great catches in NFL history, deservedly earning him the MVP of the game.

He finally got his 1000-yard season a year later in 2009, in fact posting career-highs with 79 receptions for 1248 yards, but it was in many ways an ugly season. Through team turmoil, he had issues staying a team player, and he lashed out publicly at fans on social media.

With free agency pending in a year’s time, and a drug suspension awaiting him, the Steelers surprisingly—at the time—dealt him away for a fifth-round draft pick that they ended up parlaying into Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick that they used to draft some small-school underclassman wide receiver named Antonio Brown.

Through five years with the Jets and Bears, Holmes continued to have his personal and professional highs and lows, but three years after his last snap, he does seem—at least to an outsider like me—to have found some inner peace as he hits his mid-30s, and it’s good to see that he and Steeler Nation have embraced once again. He was going to be a part of that tapestry whether anybody liked it or not.


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About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • NCSteel

    You’re right.
    The offense did not throw the ball as much.
    Look where they ended up…Super Bowl baby.

    Perhaps this team should take a cue from that one and lean more on the run.
    (I know, I know, game flow and all, just sayin’)

    9-131-1, nice line,
    Nice story I guess.

  • PaeperCup

    That is a good statline…slightly better than Wards in SB40. I still think Ben has a very good Argument for MVP of that game.

  • Zarbor

    Really like Holmes from his Ohio State days and glad we picked him. He was a baller. I remember not only the Superbowl catch but even the goal line catch to beat the Ratbirds.

    Shame he couldn’t get his affairs in orderoff the field even though I thought he got the short end of the stick from the Rooneys in order to keep Ben. Glad he retired a Steeler. That catch is infamous and one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.

  • PA2AK_

    Marczi- speaking of retirement press conferences…what do you hear about Deebo? Am I missing something or is this the elephant in the room? Now HE is done for sure. Shouldn’t they cut him to free up the spot?

  • Hec

    Antonio Brown needs to play more like this guy, and Hines Ward. And, I don’t mean statistically so please save those rebuttals. I mean by making big plays when it counts…..at the most opportunistic times, and………….in the biggest games!

  • PA2AK_

    Didn’t he let a TD pass go right through his hands in a much easier position the play immediately before the TD catch? To be honest, Holmes’ time hear outside of that TD went by so quickly it’s …hazy for me

  • Hec

    He help win a superbowl just like Willie Parker, I wasn’t referring to careers. He did catch some clucth passes in big games that help bring a championship to Pittsburgh. I love Brown and Bell, but they haven’t accomplished anything significant, yet. If, Holmes didn’t catch that pass in particular what would have the outcome be? He miss the one before, but not the one after which sealed the superbowl win! He didn’t have to set any other thing after that. They won the the biggest game of the year, point blank!