Holmes' selfish ways have hurt the Chiefs
By JASON WHITLOCK
The Kansas City Star
According to my e-mail, voice mail, Carl Peterson and FOP — friends of Priest Holmes — I owe Kansas City’s 34-year-old running back an apology.
According to my respected colleagues at The Star, local TV stars Jack Harry and Frank Boal and ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli, last Sunday Priest Holmes completed a remarkable comeback by playing against the Oakland Raiders.
King Carl made a point to stroll by me in Kansas City’s victorious, postgame locker room and triumphantly announce, “Priest Holmes is back.”
Back from what, quitting?
Seriously, it gets old playing the role of bad guy, but someone has to do it. It seems like when it comes to discussing or analyzing athletes, we’re locked in this never-ending game of good or evil, hero or goat, right or wrong.
Most of us are filled with a little of both. Priest Holmes certainly is.
I’m going to clarify my position on Priest Holmes one last time, and then be done with it.
I don’t dislike Priest Holmes. For reasons I do not know, I believe he intentionally tries to confuse people, particularly the news media, coaches and front-office executives. That is his right. For that reason, I believe virtually nothing that comes out of his mouth. I believe his actions.
He quit football. Nothing wrong with that. He tired of the game, took an opportunity to walk away and collect a 2006 paycheck while sitting at home. I say he “quit” because his actions indicate just that. Players get injured all the time, and you can’t get them away from the game, the locker room, the film study, the fellowship with teammates and coaches.
Anyone remember Trent Green? How did he react when injured a year ago or even this season in Miami? They carried Trent Green off on a stretcher, strapped to a gurney like a death-row inmate, and he was back in the locker room begging to play in a couple of weeks.
Holmes? He walked off the field in San Diego in 2005 after absorbing a hit from Shawne Merriman. No one has ever offered a clear, concise explanation of his injury. Jack Harry, at one time, described it as a “tumor” for his viewers. Whatever, Holmes was never hospitalized, as far as I know. There was no extensive rehab. As best as I can remember, Holmes’ Los Angeles doctor prescribed rest.
We’re not talking about Kevin Everett relearning to walk, Lance Armstrong surviving chemotherapy, Mike Alstott coming back to football after having a disk in his neck removed and replaced with a vertebra from a cadaver, Alonzo Mourning recovering from kidney disease.
We’re talking about a hard hit, tingling in Holmes’ fingers, inconclusive tests and a prescription of rest.
Holmes rested in San Antonio, away from his teammates and away from his employer. According to Holmes, he spent his time away from football connecting with his five children. Great. It’s good that Holmes wants to be a father to his kids. Many responsible men balance parenting with career demands and wife demands. Most good fathers would love to spend 22 uninterrupted months connecting with their children.
I’m not blasting Priest Holmes. Trent Green should’ve retired last year. But don’t you think Green could’ve found a doctor to prescribe a year’s worth of rest to recover from his concussion, if he was looking for a way to sit at home and get paid?
Now, sometime over the summer, the Chiefs tried to talk Holmes into announcing his retirement. Holmes declined, and in late July he announced he would report to training camp. Again, there was no clear, concise explanation of what had transpired to magically make Holmes healthy enough to play. Holmes credited a dream.
I credit Carl Peterson. He basically told Holmes to retire or play. There were no more free paychecks for “resting” in San Antonio.
I wish Holmes much success this season. A lot of people are rooting for Holmes because they’ve soured on Larry “LJ-Z” Johnson. LJ-Z has been a poor teammate. In comparison, Holmes looks like a good teammate.
I’m not so sure. The reality is Holmes could’ve worked out with the Chiefs during the offseason and reported to training camp ready to contribute. Had Holmes been with the team in March, demonstrated he was serious about playing, participated in exhibition games, perhaps Carl Peterson could’ve dealt with LJ-Z more aggressively in contract negotiations. Who knows? Peterson might’ve pulled the trigger on a trade with the Packers.
Holmes’ selfishness hurt the Chiefs. It can’t all be explained away because Holmes has convinced everyone he’s different. If that’s the case, then Larry Johnson is different, too, and we should all just accept it.
We don’t have to accept it. The Chiefs have two running backs who allow their selfish tendencies to undermine team progress.