How many people were wrong about Priest Holmes this time?
Let's see. Holmes got creamed by Shawne Merriman in a game against the Chargers, severely injuring his head and neck, and then spent almost two years away from Kansas City, apparently not even being able to get clearance to do anything physical. You can't blame me for being skeptical when Holmes announced out of the blue that he was coming back.
So, Holmes went to work. Day after day, he kept working his way back, lifting, running, stretching, slowly bringing himself back into football shape. Meanwhile, I stopped watching. Every so often, someone would ask about Priest, but we'd never get the story of what was happening.
The Chiefs put Holmes on the Physically Unable to Perform list, giving him the ability to work out and progress for a few weeks, and giving the Chiefs the opportunity to gauge that progress.
And Holmes kept working. Three months later, Holmes is poised to make a full comeback.
The Chiefs issued a warning shot when they traded running back Michael Bennett to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday. Bennett had been the main backup running back, the only back spelling Larry Johnson so far this season. Moving Bennett had all the appearances of the Chiefs clearing the way for Holmes. Now, the 34-year old former NFL rushing leader is running in practice and taking licks. From the looks of things, he'll be ready to go soon - if not at Oakland this Sunday, then against Green Bay a couple of weeks from now.
The little running back that could is once again showing the moxie that brought him from being an un-drafted free agent to the top of the NFL heap, and his timing is perfect. Until this past Sunday, the Chiefs were having major difficulties running the football, and although it seems Larry Johnson and the offensive line had a breakthrough this last weekend, the Chiefs could still use a spark in the running game.
If Holmes can come back and give the offense five to 10 solid plays and regain some of his old form, it'll give the Chiefs a nice option off the bench when Johnson comes out of the game. Holmes won't be the savior of the team - that's supposed to be Johnson's job - but he can definitely help.
And to think that was UN-thinkable just a couple short months ago. Maybe people should stop counting out Priest Holmes.
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