With an off-season littered with question marks, Priest Holmes ended all the speculation about his status for 2005. After meeting with reporters on Friday, the All-Pro back who is recovering from a knee strain, made it clear that he intends to wear the Chiefs uniform next season.
"In terms of next year, I'm excited because of the fact it gives me an opportunity to heal up and start preparing for the '05 season," he said a day after the Chiefs placed him on their injured-reserve list. "There are a lot of things we need to do. We left a number of things on the table this year."
Holmes came perilously close to retiring after the 2003 season but this year he found himself struggling to get over injuries. He suffered a severe high ankle sprain against the Carolina Panthers and never returned after a hit on the sidelines against Tampa Bay.
Holmes who came back in 2003 to set the NFL scoring record had hoped to shatter the single season rushing mark in 2004 but injuries and the Chiefs poor play prevented him from cementing his place in Canton.
Though he's a lock to make it to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame someday, he had hoped to make 2004 his showcase season not only in rushing yards but also carrying the Chiefs to a Super Bowl run that many expected would happen based on the power of this offense.
But that didn't happen and Holmes looks forward to changing that next season as he and his teammates learned a great lesson this season.
"The '05 season is going to be exciting because we know there's a valuable lesson we learned this year. When you start having guys go down, it makes it very difficult to win ballgames."
That's a mistake the Chiefs likely won't make this off-season. After he informed Chiefs President Carl Peterson and Head Coach Dick Vermeil of his intentions to play next year, it's safe to assume that Holmes received news of the Chiefs off-season plans. Holmes must have felt comfortable with what he heard and that could be good news for Chiefs fans.
With this time sorely needed an influx of youth and better talent on both sides of the ball, the Chiefs won't have to worry about Holmes for next season and they can start making plans to upgrade other areas.
That means Larry Johnson and Derrick Blaylock will get four more weeks to show who will be Holmes' understudy in 2005 and further who will take over the reigns in 2006. Though Holmes was non-committal about his playing days after 2005, it's not hard to believe that next year; Superman will be playing his last season.
Holmes expects to be 100% in the next couple of months. He'll continue to rehab his MCL in Kansas City and the Chiefs will keep a close eye on him as they move into off-season workouts next March.