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Holmes practices, fits right back in

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes catches a pass

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes catches a pass during a minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. (June 14, 2010) Credit: AP

Santonio Holmes was excited, but wasn't sure how things were going to turn out.

The wide receiver arrived not long before noon today and ended participating in his first practice of training camp four hours later. Holmes looked like he didn't skip a beat, even coming up with a couple of nifty touchdown grabs. 

"The first day was cool, man," Holmes said. "I actually didn't think I was going to be ready for it. I've been doing a lot of traveling, a lot of family time and issues. But I think it's a mental thing. They got me back into the groove." 

Holmes actually tried to get in on a little more action -- and was rebuffed.

"Coach had to pull me out of two-minutes today because he was like, 'It's your first day and your not in shape with the rest of the guys,'" Holmes said. "So I had to watch myself a little. But the first day was great."

Holmes was given permission by the Jets to report today rather than Sunday so he could spend extra time with his 8-year-old son, Santonio III. He had recent surgery in Atlanta to remove his spleen, and had four holes "punched into his stomach." Santonio III didn't want his father to leave right away, preferring if Holmes stuck around a little longer to help comfort him. 

"When we exited the hospital on Saturday night, I asked him if I could leave Monday morning and he told me no," Holmes said. "So that showed me right then that he really admired my support and me being there for him at this time. I ended up staying until Wednesday, 'til my departure and I ended up coming here."

He added: "It was definitely much needed to have his spleen removed at the time. Over the years, the doctors told us he can’t get it removed until he’s about 8 years old because he really needs it at a young age, and it was steadily increasing inside his stomach, getting larger. So it was definitely time for it to be removed."

Holmes plans on calling his son each night and connecting via Skype.

"That’s in the daily routine from here on out because he is going to be on medication for the rest of his life now," Holmes said. "It’s going to be kind of tough, but we’ll deal with it."

Just like it was to leave Santonio III and come back to work. But since he's facing a four-game suspension for violating he league's substance-abuse policy, Holmes knows he has get as much conditioning and as many reps as he can.

So Holmes told him daddy had to go do what he does.

"He gave me a hug, told me he loved me and that’s it." Holmes said. "I think we’ve got a special bond that we understand each other and he knows that dad works his butt off when I’m here. He comes to practice with me during the offseason, during the season he shows up during practices. So he knows what I do.

"So I’m pretty sure he’s excited about me getting back to it."

New York Sports