Santonio Holmes All But Locks Up Roster Spot With Just Two Touches

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Santonio Holmes. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)

By Adam Hoge-

CLEVELAND — Joining the Bears with only two preseason games remaining, Santonio Holmes knew the chances to prove himself were going to be limited.

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Santonio Holmes. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)

Thursday night in Cleveland, Holmes only touched the ball twice, but he made the most of both opportunities. After the first three targets from rookie quarterback David Fales fell incomplete, Holmes finally snagged one at the 24-yard-line, spun towards the sideline and ran the rest of the way for a 32-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Then, after the ensuing three-and-out from Johnny Manziel and the Browns, Holmes got his one and only chance to return a punt, which he took 30 yards.

It was by far the most impressive return the Bears had seen all preseason. And it was apparently all the Bears coaching staff needed to see.

The punt return was the last time Holmes saw the field Thursday night, an indication those two plays may have sealed a roster spot for the veteran receiver.

“We saw the punt return. Obviously, he did a good job with that,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “How far along is he in the offense? Is he really ready to play enough plays to help us in that regard as we start the season? Can he catch some punts? It looks like he can. So we’ll have that discussion and try to put it all together over the weekend to get us going moving forward Monday and into practice on Wednesday.”

Sure sounds like Holmes is going to be around next week, which is why the receiver was talking with confidence after the game.

“I really felt in my heart that I could continue playing and given this opportunity to play again, I really just tried to take advantage of the opportunity and the opportunity came today with me making a big play for the team,” Holmes said.

Asked if it was different having to worry about making a roster, Holmes said:  “I still don’t think I’m going to be concerned. I’ll leave it up to the coaches. If they want me here, I’ll be here. If not, hopefully I’ll land a job somewhere else.”

It might take Holmes a couple more weeks to really get in sync with the offense, but you can expect him to be a member of the Bears when the 53-man roster is finalized this weekend.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for 87.7 The Game and TheGameChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.