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Jets Owner Woody Johnson Says Santonio Holmes Will Return Next Season

Santonio Holmes is one of the best players the New York Jets have ever had and will return to the team next season, owner Woody Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said he may meet with Holmes and Mark Sanchez because he’s concerned about the strained relationship between the wide receiver and the quarterback. Johnson said he’s confident the two can work through their differences.

“Santonio makes the quarterback a lot better and vice versa,” Johnson told reporters yesterday, according to comments on the Jets’ website. “So they have a good reason to iron this thing out and I think they can do it.”

The Jets lost their final three games of the season to finish 8-8 and miss the National Football League playoffs for the first time under coach Rex Ryan. The slump was capped by the benching of captain Holmes following a verbal altercation with teammates including LaDainian Tomlinson and Sanchez during the fourth quarter of a season-ending loss in Miami.

Tomlinson said two days ago that he doesn’t know if Sanchez and Holmes, who signed a five-year, $50 million contract in July, will be able to co-exist and that the Jets’ organization fostered an atmosphere that helped cause infighting.

“It got out of hand toward the end of the season,” Tomlinson said.

Johnson also said he backs Sanchez, who Tomlinson said is “a bit pampered because he has no competition.”

“I have a lot of confidence in Mark,” Johnson said. “My feeling is that Mark is the kind of guy that will learn from this and get better.”

Ryan and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said Jan. 2 that they’d spend the offseason assessing what went wrong and how to fix it. Brian Schottenheimer was replaced as offensive coordinator by former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano.

“I have an extraordinary amount of confidence in both Mike and Rex to put a team together to win in the NFL and take us where we want to go,” Johnson said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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