Kansas City, Mo. Priest Holmes went through another impressive workout on Thursday, and the Kansas City Chiefs appeared to be leaning toward activating the 34-year-old running back.
Attempting an improbable return to the NFL after being out of the game for 24 months, Holmes went through his first practice on Wednesday, and coaches said they would pay particular attention to how he did Thursday.
"He was still fresh, wasn't sore," coach Herm Edwards said with a wry shake of his head. "He went through practice, had a good practice."
The Chiefs seemed to be making roster room for Holmes this week when they traded Johnson's backup, Michael Bennett, to Tampa Bay. But Edwards said he still had not made a decision on whether Holmes would play Sunday at Oakland. It would almost certainly be in a limited role behind starter Larry Johnson.
"We'll wait another day and see how he feels tomorrow," Edwards said. "He ran some things on offense, ran some scout team things, too. But he looks good. He looks like a guy who's been preparing himself to play football. I don't rule anything out."
A three-time Pro Bowler, Holmes was one of the league's top running backs from 2001-2005, rushing for almost 6,000 yards and scoring a then-record 27 touchdowns in 2003. His career appeared to be over when he sustained neck and spinal injuries during a game at San Diego in October of 2005 and spent the next two years completely away from the game.
But he called the Chiefs shortly before they went to training camp in July and told them he had seen himself in a dream playing football again and wanted to stage a comeback.
"He's running the ball hard," Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards said. "When you're away from the game you really don't know. But for him it's just like riding a bike, getting the ball in his hands and seeing the defenses and making his cuts. He's feeling at home already."
The defense has been careful not to give the former Pro Bowler special treatment.
"Not at all. The first time he got the ball I kind of gave him a thump and tried to strip the ball from him," Edwards said. "He's excited. I'm really happy for him to be back on the field."
Oakland wide receiver Ronald Curry said he expected Holmes to be effective.
"His body should be fresh. He shouldn't feel like a 34-year-old running back," Curry said.