December 30, 2013

MVP Profile: Priest Holmes, 2002

Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs



Age: 29 (Oct. 7)
6th season in pro football, 2nd with Chiefs
College: Texas
Height: 5’9”   Weight: 205

Prelude:
Holmes was undrafted coming out of college and signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens for 1997. He spent his rookie year on special teams but got an opportunity to move into the starting lineup during the ’98 season and gained 1008 rushing yards, including 227 in a single game, while also catching 43 passes for another 260 yards. Inconsistency and a knee injury cut into Holmes’ playing time in 1999 and there were concerns that he lacked adequate size to fit in a power-running attack. The arrival of rookie RB Jamal Lewis in 2000 relegated Holmes to a backup role and he contributed 588 rushing yards to Baltimore’s Super Bowl-winning season. Cast off by the Ravens, he moved on to the Chiefs as a free agent for 2001 and, proving to be a good fit in the offense with his skill as both a runner and receiver, rushed for a NFL-leading 1555 yards and, with another 614 yards on 62 pass receptions, also led the league with 2169 all-purpose yards. He received consensus-first team All-NFL honors as well as being selected to the Pro Bowl.

2002 Season Summary
Appeared and started in 14 of 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 313 [7]
Most attempts, game - 31 (for 104 yds.) vs. Buffalo 11/17
Yards – 1615 [3]
Most yards, game – 197 yards (on 23 carries) at Seattle 11/24
Average gain – 5.2 [6]
TDs – 21 [1]
100-yard rushing games – 9

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 70      
Most receptions, game – 9 (for 81 yds.) at NY Jets 10/6
Yards – 672
Most yards, game - 110 (on 7 catches) at Seattle 11/24
Average gain – 9.6
TDs – 3
100-yard receiving games – 1

Passing
Attempts – 1
Completions – 0
Yards – 0
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0

All-Purpose yards – 2287 [2]

Scoring
TDs – 24 [1]
Points – 144 [1]

Awards & Honors:
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Chiefs went 8-8 to finish fourth in the AFC West while leading the NFL in scoring (467 points) and touchdowns (57).

Aftermath:
Holmes missed the last two games of the 2002 season with a hip injury, but following off-season surgery he had another big year in 2003. He rushed for 1420 yards, caught a career-high 74 passes for 690 yards, and broke the NFL single-season record for touchdowns with 27. He was a consensus first-team All-NFL and Pro Bowl selection for the third straight year. Holmes was off to another fine year in 2004 before a knee injury felled him halfway through – he was leading the league in rushing (892 yards) and TDs (14) before being shelved after eight games. A spinal injury limited him to seven games in ’05 and he missed all of 2006. Holmes returned during the 2007 season and appeared in four games before a neck injury forced his retirement. Overall, Holmes rushed for 8172 yards on 1780 carries (4.6 avg.) and caught 339 passes for 2962 yards, scoring a total of 94 touchdowns.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.

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