"With all due respect, I honestly think Troy Polamalu is probably the greatest player I've ever played with or even seen play in person," Holmes said of the six-time Pro Bowl safety. "Everybody has their one person they think is the greatest player. In my eyes, I think he's the greatest player I've ever played with."
Holmes will get to see Polamalu up close as an opponent when the Jets (13-5) and Steelers (13-4) play for Sunday night's AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh. Polamalu sat out the teams' previous meeting last month -- a 22-17 victory for the Jets -- with a right Achilles' tendon injury.
"The things that he did in my four years of being there, and prior to me getting there, was just disrupt a team," Holmes said. "He's jumping over the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball, tackling runners in the backfield, jumping up and intercepting the ball one-handed. He's returning it for touchdowns, doing numerous things."
Polamalu, a contender for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, is recognized as one of the game's best. The safety had seven interceptions in 14 games along with a sack, a forced fumble and 82 tackles.
Holmes was traded to the Jets during the offseason after a sometimes stormy tenure in Pittsburgh. It was highlighted by him being selected MVP of the 2009 Super Bowl after making an acrobatic catch to put the Steelers ahead late against the Arizona Cardinals.
"Just having him keyed in and keeping the ball away from him," Holmes said. "Playing sound football and not turning it over and giving him any opportunities to make those type of plays can definitely keep him from disrupting our team."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press