Chiefs' Holmes on Track for 32 Touchdowns
Friday, November 5th 2004, 7:15 am
News On 6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ One year after scoring an NFL-record 27 touchdowns, Priest Holmes sometimes has trouble getting out of bed the morning after a game.
His 31-year-old body _ old for a running back _ ached so much the past two weeks he couldn't even practice until Thursday. Then he did only light work.
Still, Holmes is quietly putting together another monster season, on pace to rush for about 1,900 yards and erase his own record with 32 TDs.
``It's incredible, considering some of the injuries,'' Chiefs quarterback Trent Green said.
Although bruised and battered and nicked up most of the year, Holmes leads the NFL with 833 yards rushing and 84 points. He's second with 1,017 yards from scrimmage and has already scored 14 touchdowns, not quite halfway through the season.
In Kansas City's 56-10 rout of an Atlanta team that had been leading the league in run defense, Holmes tied an NFL record by scoring four rushing touchdowns in a half. A mild ankle sprain took him out early in the third quarter.
``The main priority is keeping him healthy,'' Green said.
With Holmes scoring seven touchdowns, the Chiefs (3-4) scored 101 points and piled up more than 1,100 yards of total offense in victories the past two weeks over Atlanta and Indianapolis.
``He's been huge this year. He's running even better than he did the previous years,'' Green said.
And that's saying a lot. Since the start of the 2001 season, the 5-foot-9, 210-pounder leads the NFL with 5,432 yards rushing, 7,583 yards from scrimmage, 69 rushing touchdowns and 319 first downs on the ground. He and Green Bay's Ahman Green are tied with 24 100-yard games.
``Priest Holmes is amazing,'' coach Dick Vermeil said. ``He just keeps doing it and doing it.''
Holmes had 225 total yards against the Colts and ran his career total of games with at least three touchdowns rushing to nine. In the history of the NFL, only Jim Brown, with 10, had more.
``What Priest is about is not necessarily touchdowns and yardage,'' said fullback Tony Richardson, whose point-of-attack blocks have helped spring his buddy for many of his finest runs.
``Priest is about heart, what he brings to the game week in and week out. There's nobody else in the NFL I would rather line up with.''
Because Holmes is a veteran and longtime student of Kansas City's complex offense, missing practice does not seem to be a problem.
``Not at all, because it's all mental with me,'' Holmes said. ``It's just a matter of repetitions going through my mind of what I need to do. Most of it is making your mind up and being ready to play on Sunday.''
He scared about 80,000 fans and brought a groan from Vermeil last week when twice on short-yardage situations Holmes vaulted over a stack of tacklers and came down on top of his head.
To everyone's relief, he bounced right back up.
``It's just a part of football,'' he said. ``I land like that just about every week. It just depends on how I fall. The most important thing was there was no one on top of me pushing me down. It was just my own body weight that was hitting the ground.''
Standing less than 5-foot-10 in a sport dominated by hulks may also make him look vulnerable.
``If you're a linebacker playing running back like (Baltimore's) Jamal (Lewis) it's going to be a little different feeling,'' he said. ``Most of the guys aren't going to say too much to you.
``But I think when you come in and you're my stature, most of the guys seem to feel they can get a good shot on you.''