Sixteen years ago, Keyshawn Johnson was the No. 1 pick of the NFL Draft, landing in New York with the Jets. He was young and brash and before he was done he penned a book called, “Just Throw Me The Damn Ball.”
To say Johnson was mouthy would be an understatement. So it was ironic – and pretty cool, too – that a much more mature Johnson spent some of the Jets’ first day of training camp to lend advice to the Jets’ current mouthy receive, Santonio Holmes.
“It was a big brother-to-little brother talk,” Holmes said. “He was just teaching me to be cordial to everybody and to understand what gift I have to this football team and learning how to utilize it.”
Johnson, at Jets camp working for ESPN, figured he catch Holme’s ear because the receiver lately has been spewing nothing but venom. Since the last game of disappointing last season, when he did not catch a pass and was benched, Holmes has blasted quarterback Mark Sanchez, questioned the two-quarterback system of Sanchez and Tim Tebow and generally been Mr. Grinch.
Immaturity is what Johnson attributed to Holmes’ penchant to taking on anyone in his path.
“All eyes are you,” said Johnson, relating what he told Holmes. “If you can do it — and you’ve done it before — you can write your ticket.”
Holmes was a lightening rod and disruption last year, criticizing Sanchez and the offensive line, making a bad season worse. Johnson was not acting as if he were Dr. Phil, but he did seem to believe Holmes will comport himself differently this year.
“He’ll grow up,” Johnson said. “He’ll get there. I’m not worried.”
Already, Holmes contends and Sanchez have become close and are looking forward to a big season.
“That was last year, man,” Holmes said. “Let’s move on.”