Two weeks ago Chiefs President Carl Peterson told the media that running back Priest Holmes had bulked up. That was evident in watching him practice today but that wasn't the only thing you noticed about him on Wednesday. He showed that he has fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered midway through the 2004 season.
Back in November, Holmes was injured in a road game at Tampa Bay. He missed the last two months of the season and that opened a door for back-up Larry Johnson; who made the most of his late season audition. Now Holmes is back and it does not appear that he's willing to concede anything to the younger LJ.
Holmes playing behind the second and third string offensive lines still managed to show that burst that made him one of the best running backs in the NFL the last four seasons. But his speed was noticeable and it was reminiscent of his days at the University of Texas. He was cutting, darting and slicing through the defensive line as if they weren't even on the field. Granted there was no tackling permitted but even if the defense tried to make contact with Holmes; it would have mattered very little in their attempts to contain him. He was light years ahead of them.
Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil for one was very glad to see Holmes on the field. "It was his first day back and he is big and strong. He has been weight training an awful lot. Now he is working on cardiovascular and getting into football shape, but it was real fun to have him back," Vermeil said.
It looks like Holmes is not willing to concede the rock to the younger LJ. The former Penn State standout was an intricul part of the offense on Wednesday including throwing a pair of half back passes to wide receiver Eddie Kennison.
LJ was equally impressive in the workouts and that only means good things for the Chiefs offense.
Another veteran who showed up on Wednesday was Tight End Tony Gonzalez. Though he admitted that he won't be able to practice until training camp, he was eager to talk about the hottest off-season topic; the Chiefs new defense.
"Do you see the smile on my face? I mean its going to be a good year. It's now or never as far as I'm concerned. It's going to be the best team on paper that I have ever been on. If we don't go out and get the job done this year there is something wrong with us. We have three great new players and a lot of guys coming back. They made some switches on defense like moving (CB William) Bartee going to safety and some other good things. It's exciting right now. All the fans out in Kansas City should be very excited. I know the guys on the team are very excited and we are looking forward to this year," said an exuberant Gonzalez.
Gonzalez had foot surgery in the off-season to remove a burn spur. He admitted that he's played in pain the last two seasons and felt it was time to get the procedure done. Gonzalez set an NFL record for receptions for tight ends in 2004 despite the injury that caused him to play less than 100% for the entire game.
"You know what the biggest problem with me was that I was able to go full speed for an hour, an hour and a half. After that was when that it started hurting, so towards the end of games is when it started to get really painful for me, but at that point adrenaline kicks in and you just have to play the game," said Gonzalez.
Like Holmes, Tony Gonzalez realizes how good this team can be this year. With the new additions on defense and all of the offensive starters returnig outside of wide receiver Johnnie Morton; he's well aware this team has no more excuses.
"We have one of the best offenses in the league as far as I'm concerned and we have been able to prove that for the last three years," he said to reporters. "We have been on top in a lot of categories. As long as we can maintain what we are doing on offense and pick up that slack that we have been missing on defense, then we will get the job done. I'm real excited."
So are the rest of the Chiefs fans who know a healty Priest Holmes and Tony Gonzalez can make a difference in this team reviving their Super Bowl dreams.