However, Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said Tuesday that
recent medical tests on Holmes have been encouraging and Holmes
hopes to return for the 2007 season. Tuesday was the last day the
Chiefs could have activated Holmes.
"He does not, at this time, plan to give up football,"
Peterson said. "We're looking at another evaluation in January or
February of '07."
Credit the Chiefs with being classy and loyal as an organization for the way president Carl Peterson is handling the Priest Holmes situation. By the summer, it was pretty easy to figure out Holmes wasn't going to play this season because of his neck and back problems. Peterson likes Holmes and worked out a contract that paid Holmes this season if he played or didn't play.
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The three-time Pro Bowler, who turned 33 last month, has not
played since Oct. 30, 2005, when he was injured on a hit by
Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman in a game at San Diego. The hit
left him with head and neck trauma, diagnosed by three spinal
He missed the last nine games of the season after skipping the
last eight games of the 2004 season with a knee injury. He has
appeared in all 16 games in a season only four times since breaking
into the NFL in 1997.
Peterson said Holmes, who is under contract through 2009, told
him on Friday that he wanted to remain on the physically unable to
perform list through this season.
"We're 12 weeks into the regular season," Peterson said.
"Without getting into the medical aspects of it, I think there
were some questions as to whether he could have himself ready to
Peterson declined to say whether Holmes would have been able to
return had he gotten the same evaluations earlier in the season
rather than within the past week.
Holmes had his best year in 2003 after a lucrative contract
extension, rushing for 1,420 yards and setting an NFL record with
27 touchdowns. Seattle's Shaun Alexander broke the record with 28
TDs last year.
Since Holmes' injury, though, Larry Johnson has emerged as
Kansas City's marquee running back and Holmes has been all but
invisible, staying at his home in Texas instead of working out with
the Chiefs in Kansas City.
That was nothing unusual for the intensely private and enigmatic
back who became a surprise star after going undrafted out of Texas.
He joined Baltimore as a rookie free agent in 1997, rushing for
1,008 yards the following season, before taking on a reduced role
behind Jamal Lewis. He came to Kansas City as an unrestricted free
agent before the 2001 season, when he led the league in rushing
with 1,555 yards and earned his first Pro Bowl berth.
He ran for 1,615 yards in 2002, third in the league, despite
missing the last two games with a hip injury that prompted the
Chiefs to take Johnson with their first-round pick in the 2003
"With Priest, you can never count him out," said Holmes'
agent, Todd France. "In my mind, there's no question. In his mind,
there's no question.
"In everyone else's mind, he's been second-guessed his entire
career, and people have been wrong."
Peterson said he has maintained regular contact with Holmes and
the team understood and supported the running back's decision to
stay in Texas.
"He felt that until he could play where he'd like to be, at 100
percent, and to practice at 100 percent, he didn't want to be a
distraction," Peterson said.