by Michael Stephens

New Chiefs coach Herman Edwards believes there is a good chance both Priest Holmes and Will Shields will be back in Kansas City next season.

It would be a big boost for the team’s offense if Shields, a standout guard, returned next year. The same can be said of star running back Holmes, though his role alongside upstart Larry Johnson would be subject to debate. Shields is an 11-time Pro Bowl guard who has considered retiring due to nagging injuries in the past. Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who also contemplated calling it quits before the 2005 season, underwent surgery for head and neck trauma midway through the year.

In breaking Holmes’ franchise rushing record and making the Pro Bowl, Johnson emerged as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars last year. He says he has been promised the starting job by Edwards no matter what Holmes decides, which provides clarity for those of us in the fantasy world. As for Holmes, who will undergo further tests later this month, Edwards said he has not talked about his role in 2006.

“He wants to play. He just wants to make sure he’s okay, and I can understand that. That’s something you don’t deal with lightly. I anticipate he’ll be back. I’d say it’s 50-50,” Edwards said.

The coach is more optimistic about the prospect of Shields returning for at least one more year. Edwards also believes that another 11-time Pro Bowl lineman, left tackle Willie Roaf, will return to the Chiefs. But he won’t make any promises he can’t keep.

“It’s easy for a guy to want to come back now. The hard part is when all of a sudden you’re packing the truck up and you’re getting ready to go to (training camp). We’ll see,” Edwards said.

As for soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens, who is rumored to be in discussions with both the Chiefs and Denver Broncos, Edwards is far less certain. He and team president Carl Peterson indicated they would be interested in signing Owens, who would give Kansas City a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout to compliment its star running back, tight end, quarterback, and linemen. But talks do not appear to be serious.

“We were approached by his agent at the Senior Bowl,” said Edwards, who will replace the retiring Dick Vermeil, and who has a history of successfully managing high-maintenance players. “We visited — a very short visit. We haven’t heard from his agent at this point in time. I haven’t heard from Terrell.”

Edwards declined to speculate on how well he might work with Owens, but he indicated that he would have no tolerance for the receiver’s past conduct.

“I’m not going to bring anyone in here who’s going to distract the football team and not give us a chance to win the championship,” he said. “If I do have a conversation with Terrell Owens, everyone will know about it. If it would come to fruition that he was here, then you would get to talk to him, too. But at this point he’s not here… So for me to start speculating on what can be done, I can’t.”

You would have to question the Chiefs’ sanity in acquiring Owens, when the team’s problem is not the lack of an elite receiver. Clearly there is work to be done on the defensive side of the football, where Kansas City coughed up a couple of winnable games last season en route to a 10-6 record that many considered disappointing. Stay away from Owens when it comes to drafting your fantasy squad, too.

As far as Holmes is concerned, he’s coming off two awful injuries and won’t supplant Johnson even if he returns to full strength. L.J. is a consensus top-five pick next season, joining Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson and perhaps Tiki Barber as the game’s elite rushers. Priest’s value is limited as a result, but if you can snag him as a late-round backup, you could do a lot worse. Especially if Roaf and Shields return to anchor a line. Kansas City led the league in yards from scrimmage last year. Enough said.




February 20, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

[…] If that’s the case, Brown could become an early second round selection. The only remaining teams that would have alternating running back scenarios would be the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. […]


Pingback by Fantasy Football Files » Blog Archive » NFL Rushing Champ, MVP to Remain in Seattle

March 6, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

[…] Does that mean he should be your league’s number-one pick next season? It seems like a no-brainer, but can he really cross the goal line that many times again? And can you imagine a full season’s worth of starts for Larry Johnson in KC? You can’t forget about LaDainian Tomlinson, either. […]

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