Holmes, Chiefs Agree to Contract Extension

Priest Holmes has arguably been the best running back in the NFL the last two years. Now he is paid like it. Holmes and Kansas City Chiefs avoided any lingering doubt between the two parties by agreeing on a four-year extension, which reportedly includes a $10 million signing bonus, to his current contract through the year 2009.

"One of the things I can tell you is that I'm a happy man," Holmes said. "You see the smile."

Kansas City president and general manager Carl Peterson was grinning after locking up Holmes and avoiding a huge distraction heading into the season opener.

"Priest is deserving of this and it's something I wanted to do," Peterson said. "We made a statement after the season that in spite of the injury I would certainly consider an extension based upon rehab on his hip which he's done a magnificent job on. His performance in training camp, all of those elements went into making this an easy decision for myself and this organization."

Unlike other contract negotiations during the last several years, the Chiefs were able to keep acrimony from building between themselves and the player during the process.

"Both Priest and I were talking about this just a little while ago," Peterson said. "I'm not trying to be facetious but it seemed that there were some people out there that had maybe a different motive. They wanted a protracted hold-out or whatever in a contract negotiation.

"That was never ever considered. Never. I think I can say that certainly on our part and I know what Priest told me what was in his heart and what he felt. He's a very important part of this football team. He even said, 'Hey, I'm here. I'm under contract.' What he was hoping for and what we were hoping to do and were able to do together was make that come to fruition."

The Chiefs decided to accelerate talks when they saw Holmes perform well in the preseason after hip surgery in January.

"What he showed in training camp and how he got knocked down and caught the ball, we're satisfied and how he's looked in practice the last couple of weeks," Peterson said.

Holmes never appeared worried during the entire process, claiming a deal could be done without anyone knowing about it. His confidence in the Kansas City front office paid off.

"It was just a matter of time," Holmes said. "There were a number of things I needed to do physically getting back on the field. Also, just getting back after camp and showing that I was healthy and getting up off the ground and taking some contact and also being able to explode and accelerate."

Holmes, with a huge bonus check in hand, can clearly focus now on being the focal point of Kansas City's offense against the San Diego Chargers.

While the Chiefs would like to cut down his carries, Holmes believes he's prepared for the same work load. "

I've never backed away from that," Holmes said. "I'm even more ready for that, but I don't think it will take that many carries because of the fact that (WR Marc) Boerigter, (WR) Dante Hall, they're more ingrained in the offense now. They're scoring suddenly and very quickly. Like we said, our offense is not about three yards and a cloud of dust. It's about 20 to 30 yards per play and that's what we're trying to do."

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