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Unable to get medical clearance, Holmes forced to watch Chiefs' practice

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Frustrated and helmetless, Priest Holmes
had to stand around and watch Sunday while the Kansas City Chiefs
went through another practice without him.

The former Pro Bowl running back had hoped to get medical
clearance and be removed from the physically unable-to-perform list
and take part in his first actual practice on Sunday.

But with general manager Carl Peterson out of town -- reportedly
attending to negotiations with holdout running back Larry Johnson,
Holmes' status remained the same.

"It's not a setback. We just have to wait until Carl gets back
in town," said Holmes. "I'm not sure when he'll be back."

The former Pro Bowl running back has remained on the list since
he unexpectedly decided to come to training camp last month in
River Falls, Wis., and attempt an improbable comeback at the age of
33. He hasn't played or practiced since sustaining severe head and
neck trauma in October 2005 during a game at San Diego.

Coach Herm Edwards said he wanted to make sure not to hurry
Holmes.

"He's not ready. We had a long talk," Edwards said. "The
doctor said it's OK for him to participate. But in his mind, and in
our mind, we felt where he's at right now he's not 100 percent with
his legs underneath him. He's laid off for a long time. I told him
today, 'I'm not going to rush you. I'm definitely not going to rush
you.'"

Holmes, the Chiefs' career rushing leader, scored 27 touchdowns
in 2003 for what was then an NFL record, and he is the Chiefs'
career rushing leader.

After being examined by team physician Dr. Jon Brown, Holmes was
on the field but without his helmet, which players on the list may
not wear. While teammates went through a tough, physical practice,
Holmes jogged, stood around and ran phantom passing routes away
from everyone else.

"Dr. Brown wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.
Instead of me coming out and possibly violating my PUP by putting
my helmet on," Holmes said. "That's the only reason why you see
me out here with shoulder pads and no helmet. I can mirror just
about everything that they're doing. But I can't put on the helmet
while I'm still on the actual PUP list."

The Chiefs have to be careful not to take him off the list too
early. If he's activated but then cannot play, they would either
have to cut him or place him on injured reserve, putting him out
for the season. A possibility is they would keep him on the list
into the regular season and then make a decision no later than the
ninth week.

"We don't want to be put in a situation where all of a sudden
you take him off PUP and you start practicing and you say two days
from now, 'I'm really not ready yet,'" Edwards said. "Well,
that's OK for you but it's not OK for the football team."

Without Johnson or Holmes, the Chiefs' running game has been
feeble in two preseason losses. They netted only 61 yards in an
11-10 loss to Miami last week even though Dolphins defensive
starters Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Keith Traylor did not suit
up.

Edwards was caught in a somewhat embarrassing situation when he
said Holmes was in the stadium during the Dolphins game only to
discover later that he had flown home to San Antonio and not
attended.

"He's come to work every day, never been late," Edwards said.
"He went home for the preseason game Thursday. I talked to him
during the day. I didn't anticipate him going home. I thought he
was going to the game. He went home to see his family. I told him
the next day, 'All you have to do is tell me so I know where you're
at.'

"Priest Holmes has not been a distraction. He's been a guy
that's trying to come back from an injury. For him to do what he's
trying to do, I applaud the guy. Now we've got to see if it's going
to work out. But he has to make this team. He doesn't make this
team because he's Priest Holmes."