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Ryan: 'Totally untrue' Santonio Holmes was a problem

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The New York Jets moved on from Santonio Holmes this offseason, signing off on a salary-cap hit to get the overpaid and under-productive wide receiver out of the picture.

Holmes left behind a conflicted legacy with the Jets. He had some undeniably big moments -- Tone Time, as Rex Ryan would call it -- but he was also known to be a suspect locker room presence who was famously kicked out of the Jets' huddle in their 2011 season finale. Ryan's decision to name Holmes a captain that year went down as one of the coach's worst. Holmes is the reason Ryan no longer has team captains.

And yet, Ryan had nothing but positive things to say about his former playmaker in a conference call with Chicago reporters ahead of the Jets' Monday night matchup against the Bears. Ryan flatly denied that Holmes was a troublemaker in the Jets' locker room.

"No, that is totally untrue," Ryan said, via ESPN.com. "That was one of the biggest ... that's a joke. He wasn't that way at all."

We can probably chalk this up to Ryan not wanting to give Holmes any added motivation against the Jets' suspect secondary.

"I really enjoyed him," Ryan said. "When this guy's healthy, he can be a game-changer. The first year we had him, he was a major, major factor in us winning games. My second year here, he helped lead us to the championship game. He looks kind of funny in that (No.) 14 (Bears) jersey."

We imagine Ryan's public stance probably clashes with what his comments would be behind closed doors. But make no mistake: Holmes was a problem for the Jets. One unnamed teammate told the New York Daily News in January 2012 that Holmes was a "cancer."

Said the teammate: "It's like dealing with a 10-year-old."

Yes, Ryan and the Jets are better off without Holmes. But Rex is smart enough to keep that realization to himself.

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