Santonio Holmes has been off his feet and away from the football field for a few months.
It will be at least April before the New York Jets wide receiver can run again as he heals from the serious foot injury that ended his season in September.
"I mean, I accepted it once it happened," Holmes said Monday night at a charity event, speaking publicly for the first time since he was hurt. "Football season was over, so I just expanded my mind by reading more and spending more time with my kids, being more supportive."
Holmes is still in a bulky walking boot and will have surgery in February to remove the metal plate that was inserted to help repair his left foot, which he injured on Sept. 30. He said doctors told him he will likely be able to start running in April, but is uncertain if he'll be ready for the start of training camp next summer.
"We have a while to go yet," he said.
The wide receiver was hosting an event through his III & Long Foundation at Jersey Lanes bowling alley to support families and children suffering from sickle cell anemia, including his son Santonio III. A handful of his Jets teammates, including linebacker Bart Scott and running backs Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, were expected to attend.
Holmes has been home in Florida since having surgery in October and returned to the team's facility in Florham Park for the first time last Friday — in time to be included in the Jets' team photo. Holmes said the long layoff has made him miss his teammates and the game.
"It puts you in a mind-frame of relaxation, but at the same time, it's a recovery process that you go through," he said. "Mentally, it kind of brings you down at times because you can't be active. It's been over 20 years that I've been playing this sport and it's the first time I've suffered a significant injury where I can't play and continue the season."
Holmes went down on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Jets' 34-0 loss to San Francisco after catching a short pass, which he fumbled as he tossed the ball away, with Carlos Rogers returning it 51 yards for a touchdown. It came a week after the Jets lost cornerback Darrelle Revis to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, leaving New York without its two biggest playmakers.
"I knew the minute I didn't get off the ground that my season was over," Holmes said.
He has stayed in touch every week with coach Rex Ryan, keeping up with the team through phone calls and text messages as it struggles to try to keep its playoff hopes alive. The wide receiver, however, stayed away from commenting on the Jets' uncertain quarterback situation. Ryan said he is undecided on whether Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow or Greg McElroy will start Sunday at Jacksonville.
"If I get involved with that, I'm going to be the talk of the world," Holmes said, laughing. "I'll stay on the IR list and keep it moving."
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