Jets’ Holmes denies agent’s payoff claims in SI story

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Santonio Holmes denied Wednesday that he told a former sports agent during a recruiting visit five years ago that he was already taking money from another agent during his college career.

Josh Luchs told Sports Illustrated for its Oct. 18 edition that he paid more than 30 players from 1990-96, including many who didn’t sign with him. The New York Jets wide receiver, one of the more prominent players named in the story, insisted he and Luchs never had a meeting.

“I don’t know him,” Holmes said. “I’ve never met him. Don’t care to know him.”

Luchs said that he and an associate met with Holmes, then at Ohio State, in 2005, but the wide receiver told him he was already receiving financial support from another agent.

“Listen, I want to save you the time,” Luchs said Holmes told him. “We don’t need to meet. I’ve been taking money from (an agent) the last couple years, and he’s been taking care of my family too.”

Holmes told the magazine that Luchs’ claims are untrue, and he reiterated that he never took money from any agent in the Jets’ locker room after practice Wednesday.

“I’m in my fifth year in the NFL, I’m a Super Bowl MVP,” said Holmes, in his first season with New York after four seasons in Pittsburgh. “I have not been to the table to take any money from anybody, from any team, and I asked to take money from a guy that I don’t even know? Seriously? That’s self-explanatory.”

Luchs was suspended for a year by the NFL Players Association in 2007 over the handling of a commission check. He said he’s telling his story now because “I don’t want my career to be defined by that suspension.”

Luchs said quarterback Ryan Leaf, the second pick in the 1998 draft, took more than $10,000, most of which he voluntarily paid back after signing with another agent. Luchs told the magazine that among other players he paid were first-round picks Jamir Miller and Chris Mims.

Luchs said he didn’t pay players while working with Gary Wichard, the agent linked to the investigation of NCAA violations at North Carolina.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.