Chiefs place Holmes on unable to perform list
As anticipated, the Kansas City Chiefs placed tailback Priest Holmes on the NFL's physically unable to perform (PUP) list as the club awaits the results on the latest examination of his head and neck by a West Coast specialist.
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City also placed seven other players on the PUP list: Tight end Aaron Golliday, safety William Bartee, cornerbacks Marcus Maxey and Alphonso Hodge and defensive linemen Ron Edwards, Junior Siavii and Stephen Williams.
All of the PUP players will be able to begin practicing in training camp once they pass a team-administered physical exam. The move with Holmes buys him a little more time, but there remains considerable uncertainty about his future, even though team president and general manager Carl Peterson said Friday he "wouldn't count [Holmes] out."
"We haven't gotten the full information back yet from the specialist that saw [Holmes] on the West Coast," Peterson said. "[So] PUP is the right place to start him. I don't think the move was unanticipated by anyone, including Priest."
The Chiefs expect to have a full medical report on Holmes by early next week.
Holmes has been treated by Dr. Robert Watkins of Los Angeles since suffering severe head and neck trauma last season in a head-to-head collision with San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. The injury ended his season after only seven games.
Kansas City has several options. It could place Holmes on the inactive PUP list, which would mean he could not practice for at least the first six weeks of the regular season, or place him on injured reserve, which would sideline him for all of 2006. There is also the possibility, it seems, that Holmes might retire.
Holmes, 32, has not worked out in organized football drills in the offseason and his usual conditioning and weight lifting regimens have been curtailed by his back woes. Watkins has cautioned Holmes about the potential long-term ramifications of another back or neck injury.
And it appears that Holmes -- who has appeared in only 15 games over the last two seasons, first because of a career-threatening hip injury in 2004 and then last year's head-and-neck trauma -- is prepared to abide by Watkins' verdict on his football future.
"It's not what it will do to me today," Holmes said last month. "It's what it will do when I'm 40 or 50."
In his first three seasons in Kansas City (2001-03), after signing as an unrestricted free agent, Holmes averaged 1,530 yards and 18.7 rushing touchdowns. In the past two seasons, the nine-year veteran totaled 1,343 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2005, he ran for only 451 yards, his lowest output since his 1997 rookie season in Baltimore.
One of the game's top all-around tailbacks, Holmes has carried 1,734 times for 8,035 yards and 86 touchdowns in 109 games. He also has 334 receptions for 2,945 yards and eight touchdowns.
Having faced the potential end to his career once before, when most skeptics did not expect him to return from the 2004 hip displacement injury, Holmes seemed at peace last month with whatever transpires in coming weeks.
"I don't think anybody's going to feel like they were [cheated]" if he doesn't play again, Holmes said. "I think I gave everybody their money's worth."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here .