Holmes wasn't on the field Sunday for the final two minutes of the Jets' 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins -- a loss that ended New York's playoff hopes -- and running back LaDainian Tomlinson said afterward that the receiver was benched for behavior issues.
"There were guys in the huddle not happy with Santonio's demeanor throughout the game and in the two-minute drill," Tomlinson said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. "And they said something to him about it."
A curt Holmes addressed the media after the game and said "it was a coach's call" to sit him while the Jets tried to rally late in the fourth quarter.
"Patrick (Turner) came in and tapped me on the shoulder and told me to come out," Holmes said.
Turner caught a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-17, but the Dolphins then ran out the clock, ending the Jets' season. Holmes was targeted only once Sunday and didn't have a catch for the first time in his 88 NFL games.
"It's tough for guys to follow a captain that kind of behaves in that manner," Tomlinson said, according to The Associated Press. "You've got to lead by example, and you've got to play your tail off until the last play."
"I looked out there, and I was wondering why he wasn't out there myself," Ryan said. "I didn't bench Santonio. You'll have to ask him."
A source with knowledge of the decision-making process told The Star Ledger that the decision to bench Holmes was made by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer because he had run out of options with a player whom one Jet called a quitter.
"He quit," the player said. "It's happened for the past two to three weeks. It's happened all season."
Multiple players told the newspaper that Holmes was "moping" throughout the game, and the problems came to a head when the receiver and a teammate began arguing in a huddle during the fourth quarter.
"The worst thing that can happen, the worst thing, is when your teammates start to question your passion for the game," Tomlinson said, according to The Star Ledger. "That's the worst thing. And I think in that huddle, that's what you saw. When guys looked in his eyes, and he didn't have that fire in his eyes, guys were turned off about that."
Holmes was asked at the end of his news conference if he wanted to play for the Jets next season -- Holmes signed a five-year, $50 million deal last offseason with $24 million guaranteed -- but he declined to answer the question.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.