PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – After spending just four years of his nine-year NFL career in Pittsburgh, former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday, electing to do so as a member of the team with which he earned Super Bowl XLIII MVP honors.
Holmes, who was drafted 25th overall by Pittsburgh in the 2006 NFL Draft, racked up over 6,000 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns in his career that included a four-year stop with the New York Jets before a final season in Chicago in 2014.
But it was his performance in the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl win, a 27-23 triumph in Tampa over the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, that solidified Holmes’ status in Steelers history.
In that win, Holmes brought in nine passes for 131 yards and caught a late, game-winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the back corner of the end zone.
“I have a ton of pictures in the house (of the catch),” Holmes said. “This was a great moment in time and the history will never be repeated and will never be forgotten.”
The accolades also meant that Holmes joined franchise legends in Hines Ward, Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann and Franco Harris as Steelers to be named Super Bowl MVP.
“That last drive was something we’ll all remember,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said. “And that last catch was something we’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”
Holmes unceremoniously left Pittsburgh in 2010 when the Steelers traded him to New York for a fifth-round pick. The trade came a day before Holmes was suspended for four games due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
But Rooney II, on Tuesday, was beyond complimentary of the off-the-field maturation of Holmes.
“One thing that we’ve always been proud of here at the Steelers is how our players graduate into men in the community,” he said. “He’s someone who is doing a great job and working hard to make a difference in the lives of others who need his help.”
Despite the abrupt ending to his time in Pittsburgh, Holmes fondly remembered his stint with the Steelers.
“The family, the team, the brotherhood, the organization that you’re embraced into,” Holmes said of why playing in Pittsburgh was special. “This place opens its arms and welcomes you. They don’t judge, they don’t discriminate. They want players who want to play and win championships.”