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Holmes ready for higher stakes


By Teresa Varley

Steelers Notebook

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes took part in the team's OTA's on Tuesday after missing the first session.
Holmes didn't take part in all of the drills, easing his way back into it, which is something that he said isn't anything to worry about.
"It's the first day," said Holmes. "Coach (Mike Tomlin) was satisfied with it. It's cool."
Holmes knows there is a lot to be done this offseason as the reigning Super Bowl champions want to make sure they come back strong in 2009.
"There are higher stakes," said Holmes. "You have to climb the mountain again. You are already at the top but it starts a new season so therefore you have to climb it again and restart."
The expectations are going to be high for Holmes, who won MVP honors of Super Bowl XLIII after making the game winning touchdown reception. But he said it won't put any extra pressure on him.
"That's what I want to be," said Holmes. "I want to be the MVP, on the team, of the Super Bowl or league. I just have to come in healthy and in shape, continue to learn and learn from mistakes. I want to continue to improve my game by being here."
Holmes expects that the Steelers will add to their wide receiving corps this weekend during the NFL Draft after losing Nate Washington, who signed with the Tennessee Titans this offseason.
"Why not, we only have six guys with us now," said Holmes. "We are going to need more guys to help. I am sure coach will open his eyes to anything."
And this offseason has opened up Holmes eyes to a whole new world. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Live with Regis and Kelly, where he re-enacted his game-winning catch. He also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, and BET's 106 & Park.
He was honored at a parade at Disney World, where his kids were much more excited about Mickey and Minnie than they were about the trophy that dad had won.

"It's been a lot of fun, experiencing a different life style," said Holmes. "I have been on the go quiet a bit but I am happy to be back now."
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The Steelers lost starting cornerback Bryant McFadden to the Arizona Cardinals via free agency, but William Gay isn't sweating it. That's because he thinks he can handle the responsibility just fine.
"There is no more pressure the outside world can put on me than I put on myself," said Gay, who last season got work with the first team when McFadden was injured. "I was playing with the first unit, practicing with them. I pride myself in trying to be the best, and I want to continue to do that."
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Fellow cornerback Ike Taylor knows there is a lot that can be accomplished during the team's OTA's, especially with players taking advantage of the time to work on individual aspects of their games.
"I am working on small things, being consistent every day, snap in and snap out," said Taylor. "Everything you think you are not good at is what you need to work at. You are just tuning up."

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