Making a case why Ernie Holmes should be enshrined in the Steelers Hall of Honor

Steelers, Ernie Holmes
Steelers, Ernie Holmes / Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers are a family, and the generosity of the Rooneys

Fortunately for Holmes, he played for the Steelers organization. The Rooneys picked up the tab for a lawyer and had Holmes who eventually got him released on $45,000 bail, also paid by the Rooneys. He was then admitted to a psych hospital, with costs paid by the Rooneys. I was supposed to stay for a month, but he stayed for two. Art Rooney visited Holmes nearly every single day. L.C. Greenwood would take him on supervised visits around Pittsburgh.

According to ESPN writer Chad Millman, although Holmes only showed flashes of the necessary mental strength, it was noted on those supervised visits that he was treated as if he were Joe Greene. The city was behind him even though he was still a backup. Art Rooney Jr said of the incident, “We all thought he needed mercy.”

In the end, Holmes plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. At his sentencing hearing, it was revealed he suffered from acute paranoid psychosis. Thus Holmes got was given five years probation. That fall, he became the Steelers starting defensive tackle. At least he got treated and put him on a path forward to continue his NFL career.

You can not sugarcoat the severity of the incident he was involved it was a serious issue. However, given the nature of what he did, some NFL owners might have washed their hands of Ernie Holmes. Not the Rooneys. They paid his legal expenses and got him the medical help he needed. That’s what sets the Rooneys apart from all other team owners.