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updated: 8/19/2014 6:03 AM

Imrem: Bears show much trust in adding Holmes

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  • Bringing in wide receiver Santonio Holmes was a risky decision for the Bears.

      Bringing in wide receiver Santonio Holmes was a risky decision for the Bears.
    Associated Press File/August 2013

 
 

The Bears must be confident in the culture and infrastructure they have created at Halas Hall.

Otherwise they couldn't have even thought once, much less twice, about inviting Santonio Holmes into the family.

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The firm and fair handling of the Martellus Bennett dust-up a couple of weeks ago was good training for the Holmes challenge, albeit remedial by comparison.

Don't confuse the two players. Bennett is this guy and Holmes is an altogether different guy.

Signing Holmes is as risky as sticking your head inside the mouth of a shark and complaining to him that he has bad breath.

Holmes has been a runaway freight train with a conductor asleep at the switch. He's a carton of spoiled milk on an empty stomach.

Forget Holmes' recent history of injuries and declining production. Of more concern is the character issue.

The Bears can only hope that Holmes will behave himself well enough and long enough to fill the Bears' hole at No. 3 receiver.

Good luck with that … but maybe the Bears will get lucky with that … and by design.

The Bears have a growing number of characters with character, Brandon Marshall foremost among them. Maybe they'll influence Holmes into straightening out.

"We think we know what we have here with the men in our locker room," head coach Marc Trestman said after practice Monday at Halas Hall.

Maybe even Jay Cutler will connect with Holmes, who said that the Bears' quarterback "is taking me under his wing."

Every NFL team has problematic personalities. Each tries to survive them and even thrive with them.

Yes, Holmes has a history of being toxic in the locker room. Yes, he was suspended for violating the NFL drug policy. Yes, he has had run-ins with the law.

Other than that he has been a model citizen.

"What's in the past is in the past," Trestman said, perhaps trying to convince himself. "People change."

Just call him Santonio the Holmes, however, a football version of Billy the Kid, Dennis the Menace and Attila the Hun all in one.

Only the strongest of teams with the strongest of spines and the strongest of head coaches have even a remote chance of absorbing a player like Holmes into the program.

(By the way, I endorse the signing if for no other reason than I enjoy saying "Santonio.")

One reason for optimism that this will work is the training-camp ruckus involving Bennett a couple of weeks ago.

When the starting tight end strayed from club policy, he swiftly and firmly was fined and suspended. The treatment was tough love, and now he's back in the good graces of the Bears' family.

For the Bears to punish the valuable Bennett confirmed the no-nonsense culture into which Holmes arrives.

Trestman doesn't come across as a disciplinarian. Maybe he actually is, or maybe general manager Phil Emery played the bad cop to Bennett.

Regardless, every player on this team must have received the message that business is going to be conducted the Bears' Way.

Santonio Holmes likely is aware of that, too. Indications are that he will have to either fly right or catch a flight out of town before too much damage is done.

Too many football coaches want to be "a players coach" instead of being "a players boss."

The best like Bill Belichick leave no doubt who is in charge. The worst are too afraid, too lazy or too indifferent to take on the role of confronting problems.

Martellus Bennett was a test for Bears authority, and the response was suitable. Now along comes Santonio Holmes, essentially a final exam.

If the Bears can absorb this guy into the locker room and into the culture, they'll be doing what winning NFL teams are able to do.

The rewards will be some souvenir shark's teeth and maybe eventually some souvenir trophies.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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