KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Running back Priest Holmes will practice Wednesday for the first time since a severe 2005 head and neck injury, and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards says there's a chance Holmes could play Sunday at Oakland.
The Chiefs traded backup running back Michael Bennett to Tampa Bay for draft picks on Tuesday, creating a hole behind starter Larry Johnson and speculation that the Chiefs might activate Holmes in time for Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Holmes "will put the pads on. He will put the helmet on. Whether he participates in the (Oakland) game or not, we'll see how practice goes," Edwards said.
Holmes sustained neck and spinal injuries in a game at San Diego on Oct. 30, 2005, when he was hit by Shawne Merriman. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list and stayed there until he showed up at training camp in River Falls, Wis., claiming that he'd seen himself playing football in a dream.
The three-time Pro Bowler, who turned 34 this month, appears to have lost about 10 pounds since July and looks fit.
Holmes is eligible to come off the inactive list this week, and the Chiefs have 21 days beginning Wednesday to either activate Holmes, place him on the injured reserve list or waive him.
Chiefs president Carl Peterson said he expects Holmes to be activated sooner rather than later.
"My sense right now is that he will be ready to go," Peterson said. "I've said a thousand times, those people who question Priest Holmes are very foolish. Throughout his entire career, he's always come back. When he called me last spring shortly before training camp and told me he would like to do this one more time, I felt that I owed him that opportunity."
When Holmes was healthy he was one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. He owns 18 Chiefs single-game and career records, including career marks for rushing yards (5,933), total touchdowns (83) and rushing touchdowns (76).
Edwards said it won't be long before he knows whether Holmes is ready.
"If he can go out there and practice pretty well, and feels OK after practice, that's good for us and for him. We'll know this week," Edwards said. "It's been three months. Either he's ready to go or he's not. Another week won't make much of a difference. He's prepared. He's been mentally into it. He's working his tail off.