JERSEY CITY, N.J. — In his four-year NFL career that consists of just 34 games, Trindon Holliday has shown he can change a game in the blink of an eye.
He has had that same effect on Denver Broncos fans.
One second, they’re holding their breath when Holliday goes back to field a kickoff or punt — hoping he doesn’t put the ball on the ground.
A second later, he’s taking their breath away and treating them to another electrifying return — a specialty thanks to his world-class speed.
“More than anything,” Holliday said Thursday, “it’s me trying to make something happen or me making a (quick) move before I actually have the ball secured.”
It can be boom or bust on any return for the former LSU football and track star, but no one can say the 5-foot-5, 160-pound dynamo doesn’t make it exciting.
Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Which is why the Seattle Seahawks’ coverage teams are hoping to keep lightning in a bottle in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night in MetLife Stadium.
Holliday has returned three kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns in 29 games since being claimed off waivers by the Broncos on Oct. 12, 2012 — a day after he was cut by Houston.
The kickoff returns have gone for 105, 105 and 104 yards, and the punt returns were for 90, 81 and 76.
On the flip side, he also has had three fumbles — one of the reasons he was replaced late in the season on punts by sure-handed receiver Eric Decker.
Holliday also had some fumble issues when he was with the Texans, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft because of his speed. But his time ended there in 2012 because then-coach Gary Kubiak said the team needed the roster spot following an injury to a player at another position.
“I don’t know what the real reason was,” Holliday said. “I’m not going to say anything negative about the Texans because they have a great organization. It was an honor to play for those guys.”
Still, Holliday admitted to being down about the situation.
“You kind of have a chip on your shoulder when that happens because you’re kind of upset,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s the profession we’re in. You’re going to have some ups and some downs.”
Still, there’s no denying it stung for a little while. But hours after being released, Holliday got a phone call informing him the Broncos had put in a claim for him.
“One day you’re without a job and, in a couple of hours, you get a call from a team saying, ‘We’re going to claim you off waivers,’ ” he said. “When you get that call, it sparks you again to try to go and show the Broncos why they picked you up.”
He certainly did that.
After losing a fumble in his first game with the Broncos, he bounced back later in the season with a 76-yard punt return for a score and brought back a kickoff 105 yards for another touchdown.
He wowed everyone in the 2012 divisional playoffs against Baltimore when he had a 90-yard punt return and 104-yard kickoff return — becoming the first player to have punt and kickoff returns for scores in a postseason game in NFL history.
Both returns were also the longest in playoff history until the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones erased the kickoff record three weeks later with a 108-yarder to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVII.
Perhaps Holliday can reclaim the record against the Seahawks. Maybe not.
Just don’t blink — because you might miss something.