New York Jets owner Woody Johnson offered insight on many key topics during a wide-ranging interview with beat writers Thursday, in which he said wide receiver Santonio Holmes would return next season.
Holmes reportedly was at the center of a deteriorating locker room that plagued the 8-8 Jets and left them out of the playoffs this season. The fragmentation came to light when an unnamed player criticized Mark Sanchez, calling the quarterback lazy. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson spoke up on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" on Wednesday, defending Sanchez but proclaiming the Jets' locker room was "as bad as I've ever been around, honestly."
Hoping to clear the air completely, the Jets' owner said he hopes to sit down with both Sanchez and Holmes during the offseason, per multiple reports.
Johnson added he didn't regret giving Holmes a five-year, $45 million contract last offseason, suggesting the receiver might be one of the best players to play for the Jets.
"That's what you pay for people who have a lot of talent in the receptions business," Johnson said, per the newspaper.
Holmes was one of the Jets given the title of team captain by coach Rex Ryan, who later said he regretted the move. Holmes was benched during the Jets' final game, accused afterward of quitting on the team and at one point called "a cancer" by an unnamed teammate. Holmes is due $7 million guaranteed in 2012.
Johnson also gave a vote of confidence to Sanchez, whom he said would be the starter next season. After initially dancing around the question of whether or not he believes Sanchez is the future of the franchise at quarterback, Johnson added, "We think he's our guy."
Johnson also disputed Tomlinson's claim that Sanchez was pampered because he didn't have any real competition. He responded by saying he believes all quarterbacks are treated differently than other players.
As for a locker room often referred to as toxic, Johnson said the comments by Tomlinson were overblown. He believes a "few players" had conflicts, but it didn't permeate throughout the entire 53-man roster, according to The Star-Ledger.
"I didn't feel a toxicity of the locker room," Johnson said.