Former Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes was one of the brightest at his position during his career from 1997-2007, but isn’t heard about much nowadays.
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Holmes started his career at the University of Texas at Austin, rushing for only 1,276 and 20 touchdowns in four years with the Longhorns. Holmes was behind a stacked running back group during his time in college, a reason for going undrafted in the 1997 NFL Draft.
But Holmes was given a chance in the NFL, being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens. Holmes didn’t carry the ball once for the Ravens in 1997, but he broke out in 1998 with 1,008 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Holmes also caught 43 passes for 260 yards.
The next two seasons weren’t as successful for Holmes, but he won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in 2001 after defeating the New York Giants 34-7.
Holmes later signed with the Chiefs after earning his Super Bowl ring, and it was at Arrowhead Stadium where he would play his best football.
In his first season with the Chiefs, Holmes rushed for 1,555 yards and eight touchdowns, as well as catching 62 passes for 614 yards and two touchdowns. Holmes earned All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl nod.
But Holmes would respond with an even better season in 2002, rushing for 1,615 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with 70 receptions for 672 yards and three touchdowns. Once again Holmes would be an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler.
2003 was yet another successful season for Holmes, rushing for 1,420 yards and 27 touchdowns. Behind Holmes, Kansas City would make its way to a 13-3 record before losing to the Colts 38-31 in the AFC Divisional Round. Holmes rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Holmes was well on his way for another spectacular season before suffering an injury that left his season unfinished with 892 yards and 14 touchdowns in eight games.
For the rest of his career, Holmes would be bogged down by injuries, including neck and spinal injuries.
But from 2001-2004, Holmes was one of the best running backs to grace the field. His 27 touchdowns in 2003 were the highest in NFL history before Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson the following seasons.
Holmes is also in great company, with him and Emmitt Smith as the only players to rush for 20 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Holmes could have been the only running back in league history to accomplish the feat in three straight seasons if it wasn’t for the back injury that ended his season eight games early in 2004.
Holmes had three seasons in the NFL with over 2,000 scrimmage yards.
Plagued with injuries, Holmes decided to retire in 2007, providing one of the better stories in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1997 to a Super Bowl champion, All-Pro, and Pro Bowler.
In his 10 NFL seasons, Holmes rushed for 8,172 yards and 86 touchdowns, as well as 2,962 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Holmes is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Hall of Fame and currently runs a charitable organization for youth in the Kansas City community. Holmes is the true example of the NFL story.