Is Jamaal Charles the best running back in Kansas City Chiefs history?
By Matt Conner
No. 2 – Priest Holmes – 2001-2007
For some fans, Priest Holmes should be No. 1 and there’s a definite argument to be made for his greatness. In fact, Holmes deserves consideration as a potential Hall of Fame player given that the Hall will open its doors to Terrell Davis this summer for his own impressive stretch of a few years. Holmes rivals Davis in terms of regular season success, but Davis’ postseason performances likely put him over the top while Holmes will remain on the outside of Canton looking in.
Still Holmes might just be the best running back ever to appear in a Chiefs uniform. He is undoubtedly the most productive back the Chiefs have ever employed. Consider the three-year stretch from 2001-03 when Holmes averaged 1,530 rushing yards, 69 catches, 659 receiving yards and 21 total touchdowns. Yes, those are the averages. Holmes led the NFL in rushing in 2001, led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2002 and again in 2003 and led in total yards from scrimmage in 2001 and again in 2002. In other words for a three year stretch, Holmes was the best running back in the NFL.
Here’s the downside for Holmes: he was playing behind one of the best offensive lines in NFL history. Several Hall of Fame players were blocking for Holmes during those years, including guard Will Shields and tackle Willie Roaf, along with franchise greats like center Casey Wiegmann, guard Brian Waters and tackle John Tait. Holmes’ detractors are correct to point out that any running back would love to run behind that line, and it’s same sort of historic scenario that Ezekiel Elliot will likely face after he’s done playing behind the heralded Cowboys offensive line.
Caveats aside, Holmes career numbers speak for themselves, and it’s clear he was a great running back behind that great offensive line. It’s unfortunate that serious neck injuries ended his career early, because Holmes’ nose for the end zone is unparalleled. He ended his career as a three-time Pro Bowler and career numbers of 6,070 rushing yards and 76 rushing touchdowns. In just six seasons, Holmes had 8,447 yards from scrimmage for the Chiefs, an incredible amount. He’s currently second on the Chiefs all-time rushing list.