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Recuperating Santonio Holmes backs Mark Sanchez

New York Jets' Santonio Holmes, left, celebrates his

New York Jets' Santonio Holmes, left, celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Mark Sanchez during the second quarter. (Dec. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes is just grateful to be able to walk again.

He suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in Week 5, and the Jets' top receiver spent the past few months getting reacquainted with basic mobility.

"Just to get the feeling of your body, to move in an everyday motion you've been accustomed to for so many years,'' Holmes, 29, said Wednesday in his first offseason interview with New York media. "So just learning how to walk again has been the biggest issue for me.''

Although Holmes expressed uncertainty about whether he'll be back in action by training camp -- or in Week 1 -- he wasn't unclear about his expectations for himself in 2013. Asked if he has any concerns about returning to his old form, he tersely said, "No.''

Holmes, who spends hours in a hyperbaric chamber at his home, wouldn't say whether he is able to jog yet. But he did entertain the prospect of facing former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis when the Bucs visit MetLife Stadium Sept. 8.

"It would be a great match-up,'' Holmes said. "It would be a lot of fun to get out there and go against a guy who's coming off of injury himself. Wish him much success this season and hopefully he's prepared and ready just like he will be.''

But until then, all Holmes can do is continue rehabbing his left foot -- and watch teammates adjust to Marty Mornhinweg's new offense. The Jets receivers have struggled mightily with dropped balls in mandatory minicamp, but Holmes believes they'll get back on track in time. So, too, will quarterback Mark Sanchez, he said.

Although Holmes thinks the competition between Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith will be "fun'' and help build "a lot of character on the team,'' he reiterated that the job "for the most part'' belongs to Sanchez.

"I think everybody believes in him,'' Holmes said of Sanchez, who had an NFL-leading 52 turnovers the past two seasons. "He wouldn't be here if anybody didn't believe in him. He's still wearing that same '6' jersey that he wore since the day he got drafted, and I think the organization, and even the team, love him and we're going to continue to support him.''

Holmes agreed to a pay cut this offseason, slashing his $11- million base salary to $7.5 million. But it was worth it, he said. "That's what we all do in our profession,'' he said. "In order to sustain a long-term career in one place you have to be willing to sacrifice for the team . . . and not just for yourself.''

It remains to be seen when Holmes will be healthy enough to play. But the main reason he wanted to remain a Jet, he said, was Sanchez. "I signed back because of him.''

But although his faith in Sanchez seems unwavering, the quarterback has lost believers within Jets Nation. Holmes, however, isn't convinced Sanchez needs to win over the fan base.

"He's going to be our guy,'' Holmes said. "The coaches brought him back and kept him on this team for a reason. He's a great leader, he's a guy that has much potential and he's excited about this season upcoming, and so am I.''

Goodson case to grand jury. Jets running back Mike Goodson's criminal case, second-degree charges for possession of a firearm, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia, was sent to a grand jury following his brief appearance Wednesday in Morris County (N.J.) Superior Court.

Neither Goodson nor attorney Al Gellena would comment, but Morris County assistant prosecutor Peter Foy confirmed there was no change in the charges, which carry a five- to 10-year sentence if Goodson is convicted.


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