The Jets' newest wide receiver says he didn't flippantly dismiss a flight attendant who demanded he turn off his iPod while his Colgain Air flight was landing in Pittsburgh Thursday night.
He told coach Rex Ryan he fell asleep, according to a published report.
Santonio Holmes had to be taken off a plane at Pittsburgh International Airport for being a "disruptive passenger" -- the apparent result of his non-compliance with flight attendants' demands to turn off his iPod, according to an incident report filed with the Allegheny County police.
The former Pittsburgh Steeler told his head coach that he turned off the iPod when asked, but dozed off with the earbuds dangling from his ears, reports The New York Post. When the flight attendant walked by later, she saw the buds in and assumed he had ignored her. Thus the hullabaloo began.
The incident report said that Holmes didn't turn off his iPod at the appropriate time when the flight was landing.
Cops spoke with him when he got off the plane "to kind of remind him of the policy," Jets spokesman Bruce Speight told NBC New York.
The troubled yet talented Holmes wasn't arrested or charged in connection with the incident, but the "disruptive" label draws attention to previous behavior that got him suspended without pay for the first four games of the upcoming season – and the reason he's with the Jets instead of his former team.
As a Steeler, Holmes was the MVP of the Super Bowl XLIII and had 1,248 yards during the 2009 season, but his repeated legal issues and fondness for marijuana caused Pittsburgh to give him away for a fifth-round draft pick at the age of 26.
Ryan said at a press conference yesterday that he thought the matter "got blown out of proportion."
"I don’t know all the facts. I know what has been told to me," Ryan said at the time. "I can tell what Santonio has been around here, when I’ve been around him. He’s been tremendous. He’s at the voluntary workouts, doing a great job (and) competes in all the drills. He’s been outstanding.
"I don’t really know this incident. I don’t think it’s as big as what’s been out there," he added. "Let’s face it. He should turn off his iPod. Ok. That’s what he should do. He should do that."
Aside from his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, Holmes continues to deal with legal fallout from being accused of battery at a nightclub in Orlando last winter.
When he was introduced as a Jet, Holmes emphasized his readiness to be accountable for his actions and his eagerness to move on.
"I'm just accountable for my actions, and right now, I'm accountable for what happened and I'm ready to move forward to start a new career here with the Jets," Holmes said on April 12.
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said at the time the Jets knew acquiring Holmes was a gamble, but that team management thought the potential rewards outweighed the risks of bringing him on.
As for whether Holmes appreciates the microscope he's under in the New York market, Ryan said today, "Things have happened to me that I don’t think you really appreciate until you’re here. Maybe this will open his eyes to that a little bit. We’ll see. "