Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes had a prolific NFL career, thriving after going undrafted out of the University of Texas and rushing for over 2,000 yards with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Chiefs as a free agent and emerging as one of the most productive, versatile runners in the game.
A three-time All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection and a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Holmes' career ended prematurely due to a neck injury.
Retired and continuing to run a charitable foundation that awards college scholarships, Holmes set the Chiefs' franchise records for rushing attempts (1,275), rushing yards (5,933), rushing touchdowns (76) and total touchdowns (83).
Now, Holmes is imparting his knowledge of the game as an assistant coach at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this week in Los Angeles.
Scout caught up with the San Antonio native for the following interview:
What has the experience been like so far coaching?
Holmes: "This is a great opportunity, a great experience. It gives me a chance to assist coaches like Dick Vermeil and work with several former teammates like Will Shields and Tony Richardson and Eric Hicks. It gives you a chance to lend a helping hand and pass on all the knowledge and years I've had in the game. I've been able to give back. I've worked with some pretty exciting backs, Antwon Bailey from Syracuse, Bryce Beall from Houston, Jacquise Terry from Kent State, he's going to be a good runner. I'm excited to see him play and Ronnie Weaver from UCF.
“He's doing a great job of not only playing halfback, but also a fullback role. These are great guys with a great attitude, very coachable. It's also giving me a chance to have a reunion with the players and coaches like Terry Shea, who was our quarterbacks coach in Kansas City. It's great to represent the National team. It's going to be a really good game. This is another opportunity for them to present their talents before the combine. Sometimes, great players are overlooked. So, this gives them that exposure."
As a former undrafted player, what are you telling these guys about the chances of making the NFL if you aren't picked in the draft?
Holmes: "Unfortunately, that is something you wish everyone would have the experience of being drafted. There are loads of opportunities for kids to take advantage of and display their talents and be consistent and show up and show out. It's a great opportunity to hear from players like myself who have been able to have lots of success and leverage opportunities. By joining the National team, I'm lending a hand. I'm sharing and imparting my situations that I've gone through, letting them know what I've seen."
How have the practices gone so far?
Holmes: "We had a very good two-hour practice. We kept the ball off the ground, no fumbles. They were finishing each play to the end zone. That’s what you like to see.”
What's the transition been like for them in terms of the tempo of practice?
Holmes: "Coming from college to the pros, you always hear how the game is much faster and more aggressive. I shared my story about how I entered the league. I definitely shared the benefit of being able to reach that peak for the young people following in our footsteps. It's only right to give back and share our knowledge. It's a responsibility for all players. This profession is like a family. This is a time to share my insight. I learned a lot from my coaches and I'm passing that on to them this week."
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