Holmes says he’s ‘fine,’ but details lacking


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Jan 22, 2006
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Holmes says he’s ‘fine,’ but details lacking
Running back has tests but doesn’t discuss them
The Kansas City Star

Priest Holmes went to California to see his spine specialist, told a family member he was ‘fine,’ then, in typical Holmes fashion, slipped into obscurity.

As of late Saturday, only one thing seemed certain regarding the ever-mysterious Chiefs running back: The mystery of his future will probably drag on for a while.

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and president/general manager Carl Peterson said they hadn’t talked to Holmes as of Saturday afternoon but that there was plenty of time to do so.

“It’s not a big, important thing right now,” Peterson said Saturday from the NFL Combine. “It’s a much lower priority on the back burner to this point.

“We’ve got the whole offseason regarding Priest.”

Holmes’ career has been in limbo since a helmet-to-helmet collision in San Diego at midseason. After a battery of tests, Holmes was diagnosed with pressure on his spine. After a couple of months’ rest, he was to meet again with physician Robert Watkins to determine whether he was neurologically sound to play.

Those tests were done Friday.

All Holmes’ mother, Norma Morris, would say is that she had talked to her son and he seemed OK.

“I just asked him how he was doing,” she said. “And he said, ‘I’m fine.’ I didn’t grill him. Whenever he’s ready to talk, he’ll talk.”

Holmes’ career has been filled with silence, injuries and improbable comebacks. He was undrafted coming out of Texas. He had played second fiddle in college and did again with the Baltimore Ravens. He overcame injuries to his hip and knee to set a Chiefs franchise record for rushing yards and touchdowns.

But Holmes’ latest problems come at a time when he’s 32 and a backup again. After Holmes went down in late October, Larry Johnson rushed for nine straight 100-yard games. In January, Edwards told Johnson he’d go into training camp as the starter.

But Edwards also said he wanted Holmes back.

“In the conversation I had with him, it seemed like he wanted to come back,” Edwards said Saturday in reference to a January meeting. “Hopefully he’s going to be cleared, and hopefully he wants to come back.”

Aside from that January meeting with Edwards, Holmes has been rather invisible in Kansas City. He spoke after he had been put on injured reserve last fall, saying he hoped to retire as a Chief and still had a big itch to play.

“I can tell you one thing,” Holmes said at the time, “I’m not one to look 20, 30 years down the road. I really look at the next two, three, five years, and I really see myself playing.”

Asked Saturday whether her son still felt the same, Norma Morris said: “I’m sure he’s going to make a statement at some point. I guess we’ll have to wait to hear it from him.”

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