Santonio Holmes is the big story following the New York Jets 19-17 loss to the Dolphins in Week 17 of the 2011 NFL season, the final game of the year for New York, which failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Holmes was benched in the fourth quarter after an altercation in the huddle, and some of the wide receiver's teammates spoke out about it after the game. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson was among the most vocal, ripping the captain.
"It’s tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves in that manner," Tomlinson said. "You're a captain, guys looking at you. You've got to lead by example. You've got to play your tail off until the last play. And when that doesn’t happen, you will have guys look at you in the way that captains shouldn’t be looked at. You should always put yourself out there as a leader."
Here is full portion of quotes on Holmes from Tomlinson's postgame media availability (via Jets.com):
On the verbal scuffle in the huddle
Let me just say there were some guys in the huddle that were unhappy with Tone [Jets WR Santonio Holmes]'s demeanor. When you have a group of guys that’s fighting their butts off, and one guy, for whatever reason, their demeanor’s not with them, you’re going to get some guys to say something to him and tell them how they feel. That’s what you got today.
On what was said
Yeah, things like "Come on man, let’s go." Just that type of thing.
On why Holmes was upset
You know what, that’s something you’re going to have to talk to Tone about. He didn’t say anything. I think, once again, it’s demeanor. Body language tells players everything. I think that’s what it was.
On how he would describe the demeanor and body language
Not really into the game. Just feeling like it’s over. Feeling sorry for themselves. That type of thing.
On if it was the bad passing game that got to him
I have no idea, honestly. I have no idea. But even if it was, we were still in the game. We were still in the game.
On advice he wants to give Holmes
My advice to him, I’m going to talk to him. We’re going to keep it between us, the advice I’m going to give him. I don’t want to put it out in the media, the stuff I will tell Tone. But we will have a conversation.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez also spoke about Holmes after the game, but said he didn't want to get into details publicly.
On if he’ll talk to Holmes
Of course we’ll talk and I’ll talk to a bunch of guys about the season. What their thoughts are and how they view how the season went and what their personal opinions are of things and the way they went, winning and losing and how close we were. It’s not just Santonio, we all want to talk about it and discuss those things.
On if Holmes was yelling at him
Like I said, there’s a real emotional side of this game and when it happens in the huddle, it’s really for those guys in the huddle and I’m not going to expound upon that.
On if he was surprised Holmes was taken out
I don’t know what happened there. We were in the middle of a two minute drill and we’ve got to keep playing. A couple of plays he was in and a couple of plays PT [Patrick Turner] came in and ended up catching a touchdown so I don’t know what happened.