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Rex won't have captains anymore

New York Jets' Santonio Holmes leaves the Jets'

New York Jets' Santonio Holmes leaves the Jets' locker room in Florham Park, N.J. (Jan. 2, 2012) Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Santonio Holmes, who several teammates think quit on them in Sunday's season-ending loss at Miami, is back for another season, don't expect to see a captain's "C'' on his jersey.

As a matter of fact, no Jets uniform will be affixed with any kind of captain symbol.

"To be honest with you, this is something I think I made a huge mistake in," Ryan said Monday as the Jets looked to explain a season that ended at 8-8 and crashed spectacularly with Holmes' benching in the closing minutes. "Not just by naming Santonio a captain, but all of the captain things.

"It's not something I truly believe in. But I put that thing on there, and this is not a reflection of anybody in particular, but we are not going to have those anymore."

Holmes created a major stir Sunday after having a shouting match with tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle late in the fourth quarter. Some thought Holmes quit on the team, showing bad body language. Still, Ryan expects Holmes, who signed a four-year, $45-million deal in August, to return.

"I believe Santonio will be back next year," Ryan said. "There's a lot of positive things about Santonio. Are there some things that we need to get corrected? Absolutely."

Asked how he can bring back a player who teammates think quit, Ryan said: "I'm not going to get into specifics of this, that, whatever. I'm just telling you right now -- it's my job to build this team and I have all the confidence in my abilities and the guys that work with me that we will get this done."

Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum didn't offer insight into any discussions they may have had with Holmes Monday, refusing to say if he was one of the dozen or so players they sat down with or if he was disciplined for his actions Sunday.

"Yeah, that's all family business," Tannenbaum said. "So that would all be in-house."

Holmes actually was in the house, making a cameo in the locker room but declining to speak to reporters as he was ushered out by a Jets media relations official. It's become more apparent that his attitude started souring recently. Holmes and Mark Sanchez had a verbal disagreement at a quarterbacks/receivers meeting last week, according to a source.

Sanchez has been noticeably quiet about Holmes' actions Sunday, even though he's also a captain. "I think it's an in-house issue," Sanchez said. "Opinions like that I don't think are ready for a public forum. I think they are things that we handle in this locker room and they should be private, in my opinion."

Certainly, there was nothing private about Holmes' comments directed at the offensive linemen in October, when he twice indicated they were a big reason for the offense's struggles. Ryan seemed convinced that the Jets had moved beyond that locker-room rift until he spoke with players Monday.

"I thought that we were past all that. I did," Ryan said. "Then, obviously, some things came up and we weren't as close of a football team as I thought we would be."

That's something Ryan said he plans to rectify in 2012.

"My job is to build a team," he said, "and for whatever reason, I don't think we were as close a team as we were the first two years, and now we are sitting on the outside looking in. We are watching other teams in playoff games that we think we should be in. That's painful. Beyond belief, that's painful."

So now it's going to be imperative for the Jets to find the right players to incorporate into a locker room that's lost key leaders in the past two-plus seasons.

"Any guy that is a Jet is someone that we feel good about on all levels," Tannenbaum said. "We talk about it all the time. Are they a Jet on the field and off the field?

"Has every move worked out perfectly? No. But when you look at all the objective factors and being a good teammate, there were a lot of good signs. That's not to say that chemistry couldn't have been better, because we know it has to be. So we are going to look at that.

"But I again think there are a lot of good guys in that locker room."

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