Where Is Priest Holmes?

Trent Green high-fived his teammates, screamed out encouragement and helped with the playcalling in Kansas City's 41-0 win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. All of this took place while he was injured and unable to play.

Though Green could not help out his team on the field, his presence was still felt. He made every contribution he could on the sidelines, as he tried to mentor backup quarterback Damon Huard and provide the Chiefs with an extra cheerleader.

He was active and full of energy, proving that he is truly the leader of the team. Call him the "vocal leader."

The Chiefs used to have a "silent leader," a player who once led by example and let his actions do the talking. Nobody has really seen him this season, which is odd - because at last check, he is still on the roster. In other words, he still collects a paycheck from owner Lamar Hunt. He is still a part of the team.

That player is Priest Holmes, who, like Green, is recovering from injury. Nobody has heard from him. He has disappeared, probably choosing to stay at his home in San Antonio, Texas, rather than sharing in the camaraderie of a team he once carried on his back.

Holmes has always been the quiet type, never one to self-promote but surely not the type to lose focus of the business side of things. He was always looking for a better contract - "fair compensation" as he called it - and nearly held out for more money in 2003.

The Chiefs gave him a new contract that year, and paid him to play football at a high level. Holmes did that, scoring 27 touchdowns, which was a record at the time.

Ever since that season he has been on-and-off, battling injuries from the hips to the head. He is still waiting to be medically cleared so that he can come off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and rejoin the team later on in the season.

Or is he?

Holmes hasn't felt the need to support his teammates and hasn't felt the need to inform the fans who cheered him for so many seasons. Perhaps he is jealous of running back Larry Johnson, who is the new star in Kansas City. Maybe he has come to the realization that he will never play football again.

Regardless, he has had plenty of time to think about his decision, and only he knows what his next move will be. It's time to speak up.

If Holmes plans on retiring, then he should just announce it now. If he plans on returning, then he's got plenty of explaining to do. So long as he is under contract, it is his obligation to support his team and to provide whatever he can. Energy. Leadership. Encouragement.

Green has done it for three weeks and has shown that he is truly the ultimate "team guy."

I used to think Holmes was the same way. He used to credit his offensive line and never put himself on a pedestal. It seemed as if he were just "in it to win it." To me, Holmes wasn't like all the other All-Pro players, the guys who care more about statistics and awards than about wins and losses. Like Green, I thought Holmes was a "team guy."

Maybe I was just naive.

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