Welcome to the Crowd, Priest! We are all frustrated.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Frustrated and helmetless, Priest Holmes had to stand around and watch Sunday while the Kansas City Chiefs went through another practice without him.
The former Pro Bowl running back had hoped to get medical clearance and be removed from the physically unable-to-perform list and take part in his first actual practice on Sunday.
But with general manager Carl Peterson out of town -- reportedly attending to negotiations with holdout running back Larry Johnson, Holmes' status remained the same.
"It's not a setback. We just have to wait until Carl gets back in town," said Holmes. "I'm not sure when he'll be back."
The former Pro Bowl running back has remained on the list since he unexpectedly decided to come to training camp last month in River Falls, Wis., and attempt an improbable comeback at the age of 33. He hasn't played or practiced since sustaining severe head and neck trauma in October 2005 during a game at San Diego.
Coach Herm Edwards said he wanted to make sure not to hurry Holmes.
"He's not ready. We had a long talk," Edwards said. "The doctor said it's OK for him to participate. But in his mind, and in our mind, we felt where he's at right now he's not 100 percent with his legs underneath him. He's laid off for a long time. I told him today, 'I'm not going to rush you. I'm definitely not going to rush you.'"
Holmes, the Chiefs' career rushing leader, scored 27 touchdowns in 2003 for what was then an NFL record, and he is the Chiefs' career rushing leader.
After being examined by team physician Dr. Jon Brown, Holmes was on the field but without his helmet, which players on the list may not wear. While teammates went through a tough, physical practice, Holmes jogged, stood around and ran phantom passing routes away from everyone else.
"Dr. Brown wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. Instead of me coming out and possibly violating my PUP by putting my helmet on," Holmes said. "That's the only reason why you see me out here with shoulder pads and no helmet. I can mirror just about everything that they're doing. But I can't put on the helmet while I'm still on the actual PUP list."
The Chiefs have to be careful not to take him off the list too early. If he's activated but then cannot play, they would either have to cut him or place him on injured reserve, putting him out for the season. A possibility is they would keep him on the list into the regular season and then make a decision no later than the ninth week.
"We don't want to be put in a situation where all of a sudden you take him off PUP and you start practicing and you say two days from now, 'I'm really not ready yet,'" Edwards said. "Well, that's OK for you but it's not OK for the football team."
Without Johnson or Holmes, the Chiefs' running game has been feeble in two preseason losses. They netted only 61 yards in an 11-10 loss to Miami last week even though Dolphins defensive starters Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Keith Traylor did not suit up.
Edwards was caught in a somewhat embarrassing situation when he said Holmes was in the stadium during the Dolphins game only to discover later that he had flown home to San Antonio and not attended.
"He's come to work every day, never been late," Edwards said. "He went home for the preseason game Thursday. I talked to him during the day. I didn't anticipate him going home. I thought he was going to the game. He went home to see his family. I told him the next day, 'All you have to do is tell me so I know where you're at.'
"Priest Holmes has not been a distraction. He's been a guy that's trying to come back from an injury. For him to do what he's trying to do, I applaud the guy. Now we've got to see if it's going to work out. But he has to make this team. He doesn't make this team because he's Priest Holmes."