Holmes Ready for Rematch with Invesco Field

Nearly a year ago the Chiefs playoffs hopes were dashed by the hip injury to Priest Holmes. He's 100% healthy now and ready to give the Broncos a dose of his best medicine.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
Some 50 weeks after he limped out of Denver's Invesco Field on crutches with an injured hip and his dreams of an NFL record-setting season quashed, Priest Holmes returns to the scene of the crime this week looking nearly as strong as he did walking into Invesco last Dec. 15.

He may be only sixth in the league in rushing (1,117 yards) and second in yards from scrimmage (1,736, trailing only Deuce McAlister). But Holmes remains the touchdown machine he was a year ago when he scored 21 rushing TDs (four short of Emmitt Smith's single-season NFL record) and 24 total TDs (two short of Marshall Faulk's league mark) before the hip injury in Denver cut his season short at 14 games.

In 12 games this year, Holmes already has 17 rushing touchdowns -- more than any other team.

Touchdowns, as opposed to yards, have taken on a new emphasis for Holmes this season.

"Touchdowns and points (mean) wins," explained coach Dick Vermeil. "You can run for a lot of yards and lose; he's done that before (in 2001 when the Chiefs were 6-10). He's had 100-plus yard games and not won. So, he wants to score touchdowns."

Getting several this week would be huge as Holmes returns to the place some people mistakenly thought might be the site of his last game.

"A year ago I got hurt there in December, so there may be a little payback for me and our offensive linemen," Holmes said. "We want to show what we can do offensively. But it's definitely going to be tough."

The Chiefs have decided to return their summer training camp to River Falls, Wis., for a 14th year in 2004. The team also has an option on four more years after that, but will again consider invitations from five smaller Missouri/Kansas towns.

"But the negative that's hard for any of them to address -- other than to build an indoor facility -- is the (Midwest summer) humidity," team president Carl Peterson said of the decision to return to the cooler summer climate in the Twin Cities area. "You can't get away from that. It's hot and humid in Missouri and Kansas in August, but we'll continue to explore those avenues.

"It still comes down to the opportunity for competition," Peterson added. "Our Cheese League (of NFL teams training in Wisconsin and Minnesota) has shrunk from six to two teams, but we still have the opportunity to work with the Vikings every year. That and the wonderful weather we've had in all but one of the 13 years we've been there."

Eddie Kennison, no fan of Denver coach Mike Shanahan, accuses his former Broncos coach of running scared in his decision to move young cornerback Deltha O'Neal to wide receiver.

"What kind of coach moves a DB to receiver?" Kennison asked in the midst of his Wednesday anti-Bronco rant. "Deltha O'Neal will be looking for a job next year. Why? Because Mike Shanahan needs to find a scapegoat for why his defense is messing up. But moving a guy to receiver? What does that say for that man's career? Where does he go from here?"

Guard Will Shields is scheduled to make his 172nd career start against Denver, which will pass Jack Rudnay's team record.

BY THE NUMBERS:
5-0 -- KC's record against division opponents as the Chiefs try for their second division sweep, the first coming since 1995. 4 -- the number of previous AFC West teams to sweep the division. 1998 -- the last time the AFC West was swept. Denver did it and went on to win the Super Bowl.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I think it's a slap in the face, to be honest. To me, it's a sign of disrespect, and it ticks me off a little bit." -- LB Scott Fujita, asked if the Chiefs' role as two-point Vegas underdog at Denver this week was a relief after being a heavy favorite in their last six games against sub-.500 teams (at the time of the game).


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