The New York Jets have cut Santonio Holmes' media availability down to 10 minutes per week this season, ostensibly to protect the outspoken wide receiver from the controversy that so easily found him last season.
Even still, Holmes got his message across in his limited time on Monday, claiming he became the team's "scapegoat" last season after his in-huddle argument and subsequent benching against the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.
"It was playoffs on the line and your best receiver doesn't get but two passes thrown his way in 60 minutes of football," Holmes told ESPN Radio (via the New York Daily News). "That's just hard to understand when you want everything just as bad as everybody else does and it just doesn't happen. And nobody has the answers for it ... but the scapegoat is (the) answer. And that's what happened."
"It was one game. One chance that both of us (messed) up. That's all it was," Holmes told me. "One game that we (messed) up and it happened to be the last one of the season. Whatever everybody else took from it, it wasn't good on our behalf. We didn't make the playoffs, so it made it look that much worse."
The "we" Holmes referred to was Mark Sanchez, the quarterback who targeted him just twice in Miami.
The truth is that Holmes wasn't the scapegoat, merely the snapshot. The image of him fighting with teammates in the huddle, then brooding on the sidelines, perfectly encapsulated a lost season.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.