It’s not often that NFL players settle their differences over dinner, but that’s exactly how Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes repaired their tumultuous relationship.
Holmes, an outcast on his own team, alienated himself by boycotting study sessions orchestrated by Sanchez, whining about his diminished role with the offense and jawing at teammates during the final stages of Gang Green’s disastrous 2011 regular season.
While the fourth year quarterback didn’t disclose any details of his conversation with Holmes, he insisted that the two vetted all their issues and reached a mutual understanding.
"We've talked about it," Sanchez said. "We both had strong feelings about it. We got a chance to sit there and address a lot of issues. It was good."
With former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer out of the picture, a coach Holmes certainly did not see eye-to-eye with, Gang Green aims to give their receiver a fresh start and fully utilized his playmaking skills.
While the future of the franchise rests on the ability of Sanchez and Holmes to coexist, the dynamic duo seem confident they will be on the same page come next season.
"I know it can work between us,” remarked Sanchez. “It's not a question of if. It's a matter of when, and that's now. I'm thrilled about that."
In an offseason where the front office seems focused on keeping its core players intact, Holmes and Sanchez remain the focal point of an offense looking to form an identity.
Sanchez recognizes the importance of bolstering his team's chemistry and this starts and ends with appeasing his No. 1 receiving target.
“When I finally got a chance to see him for a couple of days it was the same old guy from our first year together that won a bunch of games for us in the closing seconds of games," Sanchez said.
When motivated, Holmes is among the best receivers the NFL has to offer. With a checkered past and issues getting along with teammates and coaches, it remains to be seen whether Holmes will revert back to his Super Bowl MVP form or continue to be the problem child that doomed the Jets in 2011.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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