Chiefs still unsure when Holmes will return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs still don't know
when Priest Holmes will be able to return to the field.

Holmes sustained a mild concussion at San Diego on Oct. 30 and
was held out of Sunday's 27-23 victory over Oakland. He was in
Miami on Tuesday getting a third opinion after seeing a specialist
in California last week, and was expected to return to Kansas City
on Tuesday night.

"I don't have any information," coach Dick Vermeil said. "In
fact, sometimes I get upset because I don't have more information.
But the information and communication system is in the right

When the three-time Pro Bowl running back is cleared to play
again, it will be as the Chiefs' starter -- even though Larry
Johnson has both of Kansas City's 100-yard rushing games this year.

Johnson ran for 107 yards against Oakland and scored the
game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard leap as time ran out. He set up
that score with a 36-yard catch-and-run play to the Raiders 1-yard

For all that, though, Vermeil wants Holmes back as soon as
possible -- especially with the Chiefs (5-3) suiting up three backs
against the Raiders. Two -- Tony Richardson and Ronnie Cruz -- are

Although the Chiefs could go with Johnson as their halfback
again Sunday against Buffalo, Vermeil said, "I'm hoping that
doesn't happen. We know how talented he is, but we know we need two
good running backs."

Vermeil, who had been using Holmes in two of every three
offensive rotations, left no doubt as to his preference for the

"If you want to base it on merit, you have to look at
everything Priest Holmes has done," Vermeil said. "His numbers
have been the best in the NFL."

In the past, yes. But Holmes, who won the NFL rushing title in
2001 and was leading the league at midseason last year when he went
down with a knee injury, ranks behind Johnson this year in yards
per carry and yards per catch.

Holmes has 119 rushing attempts for 451 yards, an average of 3.8
yards per carry, and 21 receptions for 197 yards, an average of 9.4
yards per catch.

Johnson averages 5.2 yards per carry, with 506 yards on 97
attempts, and his nine catches for 115 yards give him an average of
12.8 yards per reception.

A good deal of Holmes' offensive style is predicated on getting
to the outside, though, and Kansas City has been without Pro Bowl
left tackle Willie Roaf for four games this year because of a
recurring hamstring injury.

"We haven't had Willie Roaf, and all these things that make
[Holmes'] numbers more impressive," Vermeil said. "But he's had
some long runs, some 60-yard gains off screens. ... He's been
Priest Holmes."

Roaf also missed Sunday's game against Oakland, and Vermeil
didn't say whether he expected Roaf to return against Buffalo.