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My Confession to Priest

I was always suspect of Priest Holmes’ motives in attempting to comeback to the Chiefs this year. I thought the timing seemed weird…with Larry holding out…it just seemed like a stab at the limelight before fading away.

Now that Priest will be retiring because of a second neck injury, I can’t help but think that I was wrong to doubt him. And the really unfortunate thing is that I really wanted him to do well as the starter. Larry Johnson’s preening, crybaby nature was certainly off-putting, particularly for a guy who has averaged barely 3.5 yards per carry this season.

The return of Priest Holmes was like a breath of fresh air to the people of Kansas City. As doubtful as we were, Priest showed that he was for real – maybe not what he once was, but he put it out there and did his best to try and help the team. I salute him for that. Priest was one of the unlikeliest of heroes for this city – a guy who came out of obscurity and transformed himself into one of the league’s premiere running backs.

A few months back, Elizabeth Merrill wrote a great piece for ESPN that tried to get to the heart of Priest Holmes psyche and still left us wondering. I suppose that now we will continue to wonder what might have been had a ‘roided-up Shawne Merriman not hurt Holmes 2+ years ago in the first place. For now, we can tip our hats and say thanks to a guy who will go down as one of the best running backs in Chiefs history.

Thanks, Priest. We’ll miss you.

Bennett to Tampa, Super Bowl to London?

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K…

We all know that Larry Johnson is Kansas City’s number one running back. Even with the struggles he’s had, he’s still our #1 guy. Too much invested, yadda yadda yadda. But we also had a serviceable backup player in Michael Bennett. That is, until today.

Michael Bennett has been traded to The Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a conditional draft pick. It’s no secret that Tampa needed a running back. With Cadillac Williams out (of course he was on my fantasy team), they were in desperate need of a better runner. Bennett has the ability to be an every-down back, but had to sit behind one of the better runners in the league (Johnson hasn’t shown it this season yet, but we may see it yet).

The timing of this deal is what makes it interesting. Priest Holmes is eligible to come off of the Non-football Injury List and return to practice as early as tomorrow. I was listening to Tim Grunhard (former Chiefs center and radio host) talk about it this morning and it’s his belief that the Chiefs are trying to mess with Larry’s head.

When the Chiefs drafted Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes was our number one guy. Johnson believed he was a #1, but Priest was such a successful back that it was nearly impossible for Dick Vermeil to supplant Johnson into the lineup.

There’s something to Grunhard’s theory, but I’m not sure if that’s what they are trying to do. The truth is that the Chiefs were going to have to figure out what to do with Priest and they weren’t wanting to be the team that let him go only to have him revive his career in another city. The Bennett move makes sense since Kolby Smith is emerging as a legitimate backup. We’ll see what happens with Priest. I would love to see him make a comeback, but I still am skeptical.

Aunt Linda

Then there’s the rumor that Roger Goodell is entertaining the idea of holding the Super Bowl in London, England. At first, I thought to myself, WHAAAA?  Surely the NFL wouldn’t entertain holding the biggest game of the year outside the United States. Especially in London…don’t they know how cold it is in London in the winter? Then I realized that HOK Sport (go KC!) had recently recreated what is now “new Wembley Stadium” – a 90,000-capacity monster that has a retractable roof.

I also realized that the people that can afford to attend the Super Bowl could care less if it is in the United States, Mexico, London, or South Africa. The people who can afford a $1,000+ ticket would love the opportunity to go spend their money somewhere else.

Then again, there’s the whole question of how it is televised. A six-hour time difference means that in order to keep the game in primetime in the US, it would have to be played at 2 in the morning in London. There are lots of things to consider and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

The Priest Holmes Enigma

One of the most surprising moments of a pretty eventful Chiefs off-season was the night-before-training-camp announcement that Priest Holmes would be showing up at camp and attempting a comeback.

For 3 years, there wasn’t a running back in Kansas City who has ever been more beloved than Priest Holmes. He ran hard, broke tackles and scored a record 27 touchdowns in 2003. Everyone love Priest Holmes, particularly his coach, Dick Vermeil, who seemed to get choked up every time his name was even mentioned.

Just under 2 years ago, Holmes was sidelined in a game against the San Diego Chargers when he was tackled in the backfield by roid-head Shawne Merriman (P.S. Note to Nike…couldn’t you choose someone classier than this “lights out” clown?). Holmes went down with a neck injury and there was pretty universal speculation that Holmes would never play football again.

So when he returned this season, it was a pretty big surprise. Now, granted, he didn’t show up in “football shape”, but he showed up, which is more than can be said for the Chiefs starting running back, Larry Johnson. Holmes came to camp, started working out by himself, and tried to get healthy enough to be taken off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List so he could start practicing with his teammates. We know all this because we have HBO’s Hard Knocks to tell us what was happening in River Falls on a day-to-day basis.

What we don’t know is where was Priest Holmes for the previous 22 months?

I was checking ESPN.com this afternoon – trying to take a break from looking at dump trucks – and I saw this article that was written by Elizabeth Merrill. I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons besides the obvious one (it was about the Chiefs) – it was featured in the premium space of ESPN.com’s front page and when I clicked it, it took me almost completely out of the ESPN site altogether and the whole article was set on a foreboding black background.

It’s an interesting article and it certainly starts to wipe some of the dust off of the mystery of Priest’s disappearance and sudden comeback attempt, but what the article proves more than anything is that it is still possible to keep the public out of your life. Very few people are certain as to what Priest has been up to for the past couple years. And they aren’t really talking.