The fact that the Jets will not play in the playoffs is not, by itself, embarrassing. That the Jets blustered their way into the regular season, as usual, and will watch the playoffs from their couches is the embarrassing part.
Similarly, Santonio Holmes getting held without a catch in the Jets' season-ending loss to the Dolphins wasn't the worst thing in the world. That he had his heart questioned by teammates and was benched for his attitude is the worst thing, at least from a football perspective.
Holmes was removed from the huddle on Sunday after offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer decided Holmes' attitude was detrimental to the team, sources told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.
"Let me just say that there were guys in the huddle that were unhappy with Tone's demeanor," running back LaDainian Tomlinson was quoted as saying by Jenny Vrentas. "And when you have a group of guys who are fighting their butts off, and one guy who -– for whatever reason, his demeanor isn't with 'em –- you'll have guys try to say something to him, just pretty much tell him how they feel. That's what you got today."
Jets coach Rex Ryan denied making the decision to bench Holmes, but Holmes told reporters that the benching was a coach's call. Schottenheimer apparently made the call after hearing from players that Holmes was moping and arguing with teammates, according to anonymous players and other individuals close to the team.
"He quit," an unnamed player reportedly said. "It's happened for the past two to three weeks. It's happened all season."
That quote, more than anything, should trouble Holmes, if Tomlinson's comments were any indication.
"The worst thing that can happen, the worst thing, is when your teammates start to question your passion for the game. That's the worst thing. And I think in that huddle, that's what you saw. When guys looked in his eyes, and he didn't have that fire in his eyes, guys were turned off about that. … The demeanor is, 'I quit,' or whatever it may be."
In that case, it appears "the worst thing" happened to Holmes.