Kansas City Chiefs three-time Pro Bowl RB Priest Holmes officially announced his retirement from the National Football League on Wednesday.
Holmes concludes his illustrious playing career owning nine Chiefs career records and eight Chiefs single-season records. Arguably the most productive all-around offensive performer in the 48-year history of the franchise, Holmes walks away from the game as Kansas City’s all-time leader in rushing yards (6,070), rushing touchdowns (76) and total touchdowns (83). Holmes accumulated 8,172 career rushing yards in 11 seasons with Baltimore (’97-00) and Kansas City (2001-07), the highest total by any undrafted player since the AFL-NFL merger.
“I have truly been blessed with the opportunity to play in the National Football League,” Holmes commented. “I will be forever grateful to the Hunt Family and the Chiefs organization for the opportunity to come to Kansas City, where the community embraced me from day one. I have been humbled by the tremendous support that I have received from Chiefs fans over the years. I was grateful to be part of a Super Bowl team in Baltimore, but I will always fondly remember my time in Kansas City and the many great players and coaches that provided me an opportunity to be successful.”
“In the business of the NFL we are privileged to sometimes be in the presence of a magnificent athlete,” Chiefs President Carl Peterson stated. “We’re also privileged to sometimes be in the presence of a magnificent person. Priest Holmes exemplifies both individuals. Priest has given this organization all he could possibly give. He has been an outstanding player, teammate and contributor on and off the field. Thank you is never enough to a player like Priest Holmes. We, at the Chiefs, sincerely appreciate all his contributions to this franchise and wish he and his family the best. Priest Holmes will always be a Kansas City Chief.”
Holmes played in 65 regular season games with 63 starts for Kansas City. He was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press after producing 1,615 rushing yards in just 14 games in 2002. Holmes became just the third Chiefs player to lead the league in rushing when he racked up 1,555 yards during his debut campaign with Kansas City in 2001. In addition to his rushing exploits, Holmes also caught 246 passes for 2,360 yards (9.6 avg.) with seven TDs. He ranks first in team history with 1,521 touches from scrimmage and is second in team annals with 24 career 100-yard rushing games. He also started a postseason contest vs. Indianapolis (1/11/04), rushing 24 times and setting Chiefs single-game postseason records with 176 yards and two TDs. He finished the day with 208 combined net yards from scrimmage, the third-highest tally in Chiefs postseason history.
Since joining the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent in 2001, Holmes averaged a league-high 130.0 scrimmage yards per game and ranked second in the NFL by averaging 93.4 rushing yards per game. Holmes scored 83 touchdowns since 2001-05, the second-highest total in the NFL during that time span. He scored 62 rushing touchdowns from 2002-04, the second-best three-year total in NFL history. Holmes owns a host of Chiefs single-season records, including marks for points (162 in 2003), receptions by a running back (74 in 2003) and yards from scrimmage (2,287 in 2002).
In total, Holmes saw action in 113 career regular season games (82 starts) with Baltimore (’97-00) and Kansas City (2001-07), carrying the ball 1,780 times for 8,172 yards (4.6 avg.) with 86 TDs and caught 339 passes for 2,962 yards (8.7 avg.) with eight scores. Holmes also saw duty in five playoff contests (two starts), rushing 42 times for 221 yards (5.3 avg.) with two TDs and captained a Baltimore squad that captured a victory in Super Bowl XXXV vs. the N.Y. Giants.
Holmes entered the league as a rookie free agent with Baltimore in ‘97 after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Texas. The San Antonio prep product was recently enshrined in the University of Texas Hall of Honor earlier this year after registering 252 carries for 1,276 yards (5.1 avg.) with 20 TDs during his career with the Longhorns. He enrolled at Texas after starring at Marshall High School in San Antonio.