Holmes Constantly Thinking of Family
John Clayton, ESPN Senior Writer
Date: August 9, 2004
MANKATO, Minn. — Chiefs players assembled for a casual March meeting. Those in attendance listened with shock as Priest Holmes spoke. The meeting was to discuss team and individual goals. Holmes dropped a bombshell.
“Just so you know, I’m thinking about retiring,” Holmes said.
This wasn’t a joke. He was serious. The Chiefs workhorse back had more on his mind than carrying the Chiefs offense on his muscular back. His father was in Iraq and Priest worried. In addition, each fall becomes more difficult because his family stays in Texas.
“This is the first time it ever crossed my mind,” Holmes said of retirement. “Coach (Dick) Vermeil talked about it and what you should say. He said, ‘Hey, it was just a feeling. Give it some time. If you feel that way when you come back, let me know.’ ”
Often, Priest isn’t a man of words. His actions are his communication tools. He got away from football for a week or two. But when the team reassembled for offseason training days and mini-camps, Holmes showed up and worked, never telling his teammates his thoughts of retirement were gone. Chiefs players hold their breathe every day.
“He never really officially said he wasn’t retiring,” quarterback Trent Green said. “He kept showing up for workouts. When he showed up, we thought it was a good start. More guys talked to him about it and what he’s going to do. We’re glad to have him.”
During the two-day scrimmage in Mankato against the Vikings, Holmes was involved and having fun. He had a mini-cam working feverishly so he can put action on his Web site, “31teampriest.com.” Vermeil tries to limit Priest to one practice a day. After all, he’s 30 now and is a year removed from coming back from hip surgery.