Fresh off suspension, Holmes ready to help Raiders
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Editor's note: Chat with Raiders insider Scott Bair --  today at 3 p.m.

ALAMEDA – Andre Holmes was allowed into Raiders headquarters Monday morning. It was the first time in a while. The second-year receiver was reinstated following a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

That means no contact with the team that retains his rights.

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Holmes tested positive for an amphetamine during the offseason and his suspension was announced on July 27, shortly after training camp began. He was allowed to practice and play during the preseason, when he was productive enough for the Raiders to give him another shot.

Holmes, who was on the reserve-suspended list since season’s start, can practice with the Raiders for a week before they must decide whether to keep him.

“We’ll have to see him,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s been suspended, so we haven’t even been able to work with him for a month, for four games. We’ll have to see how he is when he gets back in here.”

If Holmes has a good week, Juron Criner could be on the way out. The No. 5 receiver is on thin ice after being inactive in each game this season. Holmes showed greater upside in the preseason.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete had seven catches for 86 yards over four exhibitions as a rangy receiver who can win balls in the air. He isn't the second coming of Fred Biletnikoff -- he had just two catches in seven games for Dallas last year -- but Holmes could certainly contribute.

Holmes stayed active and in football shape during the suspension, working out locally as a receiver, and believes he’ll fit right in.

“There might be some rust getting back to playing full time, but I felt like I did a good job of keeping myself mentally and physically prepared,” Holmes said. “It’s a big week of practice and it’s important to do well.”

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Holmes feels nothing more than needs to be said about a PED suspension he has long maintained was accidental. When the suspension was announced, Holmes said he did not know how an amphetamine got into his system.

“Everyone knew in training camp that I was getting suspended,” Holmes said. “How I played and conducted myself during camp showed the team and the coaching staff who I am. I think that’s how I handled it, and I’m thankful for the opportunity here. The time away was frustrating. I can’t wait to get back at it.”