Proudly wearing a red Ohio State T-shirt, Santonio Holmes flashed a huge grin as he pondered the trek he'll take with his teammates this weekend, when they head to the shores of Lake Erie to square off against the Browns.
"Any time I go back to the state of Ohio, I’m looking forward to doing great things," Holmes said when I asked the Ohio State product and former Steeler for his thoughts on being Cleveland bound in two days. "I’ve got a lot of fans back there in Ohio that are definitely going to still be cheering me on and a lot of guys that are still going to hate me because I played for the Steelers.
"I get a lot of tweets from guys saying that they are glad they can root for me now that I’m a Jet, because I was a Steeler at one point, so guys were not liking that at all. So I’m definitely going to show out once I get back to Cleveland because that’s just a place where I started at -- in Ohio."
And having played there four times with Pittsburgh, Holmes is well aware just how crazy things can get at the 73,300-seat Cleveland Browns Stadium.
"The crowd is going to be into the game the whole time," he said. "I definitely think the weather plays a big factor, playing in Cleveland, being right next to the lake, having the different winds come in and the temperature being able to drop. We play a 1 o’clock game, so I’m definitely thankful that it won’t be as bad as it would be if it was a 4 o’clock or an 8 o’clock game."
Holmes is starting -- literally -- to get into a groove. He's started the past two games and seems to be finding more of a comfort zone, posting eight receptions for 157 yards. That includes Sunday's five-catch, 114-yard effort against the Lions.
He's had key roles in the Jets' last two victories. Remember, he drew that crucial fourth-down pass interference penalty that helped them pull out their 24-20 win in Denver. And it was his 52-yard grab in overtime against Detroit that set up Nick Folk's 30-yard game winner.
"I think the opportunities are what’s allowing me to play faster and to be more on key with everything, be in the right place where I need to be," said Holmes, who missed the first four games serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. "The opportunities that have been presented to me from Schotty, our offensive coordinator, is definitely helping me play faster and get out and make plays.
"It’s almost to a point where you’ve got to think selfishly, but it’s just more so getting the opportunity to start. Being a backup guy is kind of tough. It’s tough playing from behind when you know what you are capable of doing and it allows your mind to think a lot faster and play a lot faster when you are on the field."