Santonio Holmes ready for opener? Depends on who you ask

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, wide receiver Santonio Jets head coach Rex Ryan, wide receiver Santonio Holmes and Jets quarterback Greg McElroy are seen during pregame warmups against the Giants. (Aug. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Lee S. Weissman

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - So how has Santonio Holmes looked in his first week of practice in nearly 11 months?

The answer depends on whom you ask.

Jets coach Rex Ryan says that from what he's seen, Holmes is "in great shape" and he is optimistic that the wide receiver will play in the season opener Sept. 8. Holmes, however, says he is far from "100 percent" and downplayed the possibility of being ready for Week 1.

"I would say I have a long ways to go," said Holmes, who has not played since he suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot last September against the 49ers. "Like I talked about before, it's all about learning routes again, to be able to put my foot in the ground again, to be able to burst and release versus pressure coverages . . . We still have a lot of steps to continue making right now."

Holmes was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Friday, a sign that the team believes he can be ready for the start of the season. His practices Monday and Tuesday were limited.

"We're really just phasing Santonio in right now," Ryan said. "It's not like he's going out there every snap."

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Still Ryan likes what he has seen.

"I think he's in great shape," Ryan said. "He's in phenomenal shape. I saw him run. He looked pretty good to me. But again, I'm optimistic about it. We'll see. Obviously, the young man has to sign off before anybody plays."

Holmes was asked several times if he was downplaying his progress, especially since he has looked impressive when he has been on the practice field.

"Looks are deceiving," Holmes said. "It can look one way, but to me it's not the same."

The Jets badly need Holmes to return to the field to bolster its receiving corps. If Holmes cannot play, the team's top downfield threat is second- year receiver Stephen Hill, who has struggled to catch the ball.

Holmes indicated that he is not going to endanger his career by rushing back before he believes he is ready.

"I have a long career ahead of me," the 29-year-old said when asked if he would play if he was only 75 percent. "I'm going to take the best risk and the best chances for myself and for my team."

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