by Ivan Foleys
Updated 2 p.m. Sunday, 7/29/07
*Check out some pictures below in today's 10:50 a.m. post, taken right as Priest Holmes appeared on the practice field unannounced Sunday morning. Only The Landmark and KAKE TV of Wichita were on hand with cameras when Priest began his initial workout. Soon, a rush of other media showed up, including some who had left earlier thinking Priest was not in the house. At high noon today, Priest held a press conference (pictured). Read on for highlights.
|Priest Holmes says he had a dream. Ivan Foley/Landmark photo
Incognito Landmark free lancer Springsteen, The Landmark facilities manager/intern Kurt Foley and yours truly later attended Priest's press conference on the River Falls campus. A couple interesting notes came out of it:
*Priest said he made his decision to "come back" to the Chiefs only six days after having a dream in which he saw himself playing football again. He said he then asked his kids if they could picture him playing football. They said yes. Here he is. But will he ever play?
*Holmes said he needs at least three weeks before he will put the pads on. Hmmm. I wonder if three weeks is the team's timetable for getting Larry Johnson into camp.
*Are you buying the "six days ago" stuff? Not sure I am. If this decision was only reached six days ago it would seem to lend credence to the theory that Holmes' appearance/return is tied to the Larry Johnson holdout.
Other thoughts from today (We're now on the highway headed back to Platte):
*Carl Peterson rode a bicycle to practice and pedaled it out onto a field where he leaned it against a pole and watched the morning workout. The Landmark facilties manager says he got a photo. See our print edition this week for said photographic evidence.
*Landmark facilities manager also was briefly interviewed by KAKE TV of Wichita for his thoughts on Priest's return. Shout out to all loyal Landmark readers in Wichita. If there weren't any before, there are now.
*Thanks for the blog visits. This page has been hit on more than a skinny girl in downtown Hudson. Wait, that was purely a hypothetical.
Updated 10:50 a.m. Sunday, 7/29/07
*The Priest is here. Priest Holmes made his appearance at the Chiefs practice facility shortly before 10 a.m. The Landmark was one of the very few media outlets on hand--in fact two of the TV stations' main reporters had left the premises and had to make a hurried return, with one lead anchor carrying what appeared to be a cup of coffee as he somewhat sheepishly made his way to where he could get a view of Priest. . .long after The Landmark had photographed the Chiefs' record-holding running back.
Unannounced and with no fanfare, Holmes made his way over to the practice field in his patented Holmes jersey, wearing a visor and shorts. Some fans hollered at him and he gave a friendly wave and smile. He looks physically fit, though as we all know being in shape and being in football condition are two different things. Springsteen immediately noted the muscular look to Priest's calves. Springsteen says it's the best set of legs he has seen all weekend.
Holmes right now is doing light running and stretching with other players who are on the physically under the weather list.
Still no sign of the rumored RV, however.
Pictures of Priest coming soon to this blog. Leave it to The Landmark to be the media outlet first with this kind of thing. This is like taking candy from a baby. Next we'll teach the KC sports media how to find clean clothes and a shower.
Stay classy, Platte County, while the Landmark is keepin' it real, workin' for you up here in River Falls.
Photos below, taken while only The Landark and a Wichita TV station were there for the early moments of Priest's appearance at practice. Word quickly spread and soon a mass of other media showed up.
|Priest Holmes went through some light running on one of the Chiefs practice fields Sunday morning shortly after appearing at camp. Ivan Foley/Landmark photo
|At his surprise early appearance on Sunday morning, Holmes shared a smile with a teammate while doing a quick meet and greet on the field. Ivan Foley/Landmark photo
Updated 8:30 a.m.. Sunday, 7/29/07
*Well, your dedicated Landmark team of yours truly, incognito reporter Springsteen and Landmark facilities manager Kurt Foley have run all our traps (that's a code phrase for checked all our sources) and still have turned up no evidence of Priest Holmes being in River Falls. No sign of any RV's--his rumored mode of transportation--just yet. Team officials are now saying Priest should be around this afternoon for media talk. Who knows when he might get on the field, if and when he drops in.
Personally, I'm starting to think there are a lot of pawns at play here, not the least of which is the raggedly-dressed and overdue-for-a-shower KC sports media. It's almost to the point that until Priest physically arrives in River Falls, we should probably just quit talking about him.
*Baseball needs to bring its steroid investigation to the night clubs in downtown Hudson. The female rock band groupies might be suspects for trafficking in human growth hormones. They make some of the KC sports writers look average sized.
*I was afraid to allow our young facilities manager to accompany Springsteen and I into downtown Hudson last night. I was afraid he would be swallowed and belched.
*Chiefs GM Carl Peterson watched yesterday's afternoon practice positioned directly behind the offense on the field.
*Time to hit the shower and put on clean clothes. Wait, if I do that I'll likely be kicked out of the KC sports media country club.
*Morning practice at 9:30. Don't know how long your Landmark team is staying for the "Is Priest Here Yet?" circus today. Will try to keep you updated from the car.
Updated 6:45 p.m.. Saturday, 7/28/07
Couple necessary notes to pass on: The weather up here continues to be ideal--so much more comfortable than last year at this time. For the first practice in full pads, the temperature was in the upper 80s but with a breeze and relatively low humidity, it was actually comfortable. Of course I wasn't wearing pads or exerting a whole lot of physical activity.
Another note is that when the Chiefs use the middle of the three practice fields as they did for this workout, the fans get hosed. They are relegated to a distant view from beyond one end zone.
*No Priest Holmes. Still. Will he fly into River Falls tonight? That's the announced plan. If that comes to be--and don't hold your breath--he will be on the field tomorrow for individual drills tomorrow. Supposedly.
*Brodie Croyle gets rid of the ball quicker than Huard.
*Huard appears better at finding a secondary receiver, going through his reads.
*HBO's Hard Knocks series is at training camp. I may got a little face time as the HBO/NFL Films crew filmed Croyle meeting with a group of loyal fans after practice. I'll try to get Landmark pictures from that session posted at some point.
*The offensive line looks pretty sharp.
*Rookie running back Kolby Smith fumbled the ball away on a hit by Jared Allen. He was admonished by Herm Edwards. "Gotta take care of the ball better than that," Edwards announced loudly.
*Our incognito free lance reporter Springsteen--baby, he was born to snore--was impressed that veteran defensive back Ty Law approached Herm Edwards and engaged in a five minute conversation about fundamental pass coverage skills. An old veteran still wanting to learn in practice. Kinda nice to see.
*No comments from Herm after practice. He only gives a sermon after the morning sessions.
*Next practice tomorrow morning at 9:30.
*Your fearless Landmark coverage team is going to head to the River Falls metropolis for our first taste of the RF night life. We'll compare it to Hudson in a later post.
*In addition to the autograph session pictures of Croyle, got another good photo or two at this practice. We'll see about getting them posted here but again, watch this week's print version of Platte County's only relevant newspaper for many of our best shots.
*Keep those emails coming, firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 2:40 p.m.. Saturday, 7/28/07
The morning practice took place without the expected arrival of Priest Holmes. He may, or may not, arrive in River Falls tonight, but even if he does he won't be on the field until tomorrow at the earliest. And when he does get on the field, he will only be doing individual drills with injured players such as Jason Dunn.
*Landmark fans are everywhere. Chiefs coaches, including Herm Edwards, could often be telling their players during defensive back drills: "Find your Landmark!"
Some folks might think he was talking about a particular spot on the field, but we know better.
*After safety Bernard Pollard made interceptions on consecutive plays, Herm Edwards yelled to him: "You're making the All River Falls team."
*Chiefs' defense was very aggressive, having received instructions from coordinator Gunther Cunningham to go ahead and do some sticking even though this technically was a practice without pads--only helmets and shoulder pads. Linebacker Derrick Johnson got aggressive with an bone-jarring stick on rookie running back Kolby Smith. The hit was fierce enough that Herm Edwards went over to urge Johnson to back off. "Be smart" he could be heard telling the linebacker.
*Have emailed back some pictures to the Landmark graphics department to see if we can get some photograhic goodness posted here soon (Update: They are now posted below, thanks to Landmark office manager Cindy Rinehart doing the honors from back home). Be sure to check the print version of The Landmark Wednesday afternoon for a page full of color photos.
*"I'm one of those people who doesn't need much sleep," incognito free lance reporter Springsteen bragged yesterday. It's 2:30 in the afternoon and he's sound asleep, snoring like a freight train while the real journalist cranks out your update.
*Herm Edwards on Donnie Edwards: "He's better in a 4-3 (like the Chiefs run). In this system the middle linebacker is basically a glorified strong safety. The middle linebacker has to have great cover skills." H. Edwards sounds like he expects a big year from D. Edwards.
*"We have a chance to be a pretty good defense," Herm Edwards told the media after practice.
*Brodie Croyle was taking the first team snaps this morning, in contrast from the opening workout yesterday when Huard was leading off.
*The boys go in full pads for the late afternoon practice today. We'll let you know how that goes.
Bernard Pollard had this interception attempt barely get passed him Saturday morning. But he did pick off two passes, which led to Herm Edwards jokingly telling him he was going to be named to the All River Falls Team. Landmark photo/Ivan Foley
QB Damon Huard, who is splitting time with Brodie Croyle, rifled a pass while defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham (background) can be seen screaming at his defense during the play. Landmark photo/Ivan Foley
Updated 12:45 a.m. Saturday, 7/28/07
Quick observations on today's (oops, it's after midnight, technically yesterday's) first practice:
*Interesting that Damon Huard received most of the first team snaps at quarterback. This will be intriguing to watch in the coming days, as the Chiefs have made it clear they would prefer young Brodie Croyle earn the starting QB job, not Huard.
*Samie Parker was catching punts in special teams work. You don't normally have a starting receiver as your punt return man. Could be why SamIe Parker was catching punts in special teams work.
*Like last year, Herm Edwards is again wanting to feel the elements by wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt in the heat. Not near as hot in River Falls as it was at this time last year with today in the mid 80s. Last year on this weekend the Chiefs were practicing in nearly 100 degree heat up here in "cooler" Wisconsin.
*Questioned about Priest Holmes, Edwards said this in post game remarks to us media schmoes. "Priest Holmes knows the offense." When reminded that the offense has changed since the last time Holmes took a snap for the Chiefs two years ago, Edwards shrugged it off. "There basically are only five running plays in pro football."
*If there are only five running plays, why is the Chiefs hard-cover playbook so thick?
*Michael Bennett and Kolby Smith, the rookie out of Louisville, got a mixture of first team snaps at running back. Interesting that Smith received that much action with the front liners.
Some of my favorite quotes of the day came from a group of River Falls fifth graders who were sitting on the bleachers before practice. Here are some of their observations made within earshot of your always-on-point Landmark editor:
*"I don't know very many Chiefs. Larry Johnson is their only good player."
*Why did they give away that Dante Hall dude?"
*One kid to the other as a KC TV station camera zoomed in on them. "Hey you're on Kansas TV." Another example that much of the world believes KC is in Kansas.
*And my personal favorite: "If I was an NFL coach I would get every player's autograph."
Two practices tomorrow. One at 9 a.m. and another afternoon workout around 3:45.
We hit downtown Hudson again this evening for some dinner at the Twisted Grille, some people-watching at the Pier 500 and then live music at Dibbo's once again. Springsteen correctly noted it was a night for heavyweights.
Chat with you tomorrow when we'll get more detailed about practice notes and quotes.
Updated 2:30 p.m. Friday, 7/27/07
OK, back at the Fairfield Inn in Hudson for a quick break. We've already been to River Falls today, as incognito ace reporter Springsteen made his virgin voyage to a Chiefs training camp.
Springsteen may have a future in this biz. He made the following observations, speaking them into a voice recorder as we enjoyed lunch at the Bo's and Mine bar and grill in downtown River Falls.
No 1: The KC media covering the Chiefs are dressed so poorly they could be mistaken for the River Falls homeless population. "It looks like the homeless have just been rounded up and herded into one location," Springsteen says.
No. 2: There's a good reason Rhonda Moss is on the radio.
No. 3: The Chiefs' playbook is very thick. Apparently Springsteen believed the playbook would consist of three plays: LJ to the left, LJ to the right, and LJ up the middle. The Chiefs, like Springsteen, are born to run.
No. 4: Chiefs players overheard being interviewed by the electronic media were found to be very well-spoken. Impressed, was Mr. Springsteen. Among those being interviewed were Damion McIntosh, Tamba Hali and Turk McBride, the rookie defensive lineman from Tennessee.
No. 5: Chiefs officials are very protective of their media credentials. They sternly requested all credentials be returned by the time we exit camp on Sunday. A threat of castration was not spoken but implied.
Anyway, first practice starts in about an hour. We'll give you analysis later this evening.
Email email@example.com if you have Chiefs questions or training camp coverage requests.
Updated 11:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, 2007
Free lance reporter Springsteen drove through a brutal rainstorm about an hour away from our destination here in Hudson, Wisc. Most vehicles pulled over to let the storm pass; Springsteen kept on keepin' on. A fearless rocker indeed.
Got settled in our room here at the Fairfield Inn in Hudson. No signs of other KC media or Johnson County Chiefs fans just yet.
Then we headed to beautiful downtown Hudson--really, cool place--and enjoyed a nice late dinner at an establishment called Pier 500 on the shore of the St Croix River. Next was a walk across the street for some live music at a place called Dibbo's. The band was a local group by the name of Deviant Distraction. There were only about 15 people in the place, though we must admit these guys were impressive. But let's subtract brownie points for the fact they brought their own groupies, three or four gals dressed in Catholic schoolgirl skirts.
Time to crash. Tomorrow, Chiefs camp coverage gets rolling for real as the boys take to the field at River Falls for their first practice at 3:53 p.m.
Check back with us tomorrow for some actual football talk.
This update posted 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26, 2007
I'd like to send a shout out to all my homies back in Platte. Bark with me if you're my dawg.
It's almost 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, 2007 and our 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, provided courtesy of Randy
Reed Pontiac-Buick-GMC just passed a highway sign welcoming us to Minnesota. We're about 100 miles away from our hotel in Hudson, Wisc.
The ride up has been a smooth one thus far. It was 1:30 p.m. when we made a pit stop at St. Joseph and hit the highway for good, so we're making excellent time it seems.
We're now in the land of 10,000 lakes. Landmark facilities manager Kurt Foley, the backseat passenger on this trip, has started counting the bodies of water just to verify the accuracy of that claim.
Also along for the trip is a free lance reporter we will only refer to by a code name, which is Springsteen. Springsteen now has control of the wheel. I'm expecting him to bust into song at any moment.
No doubt hundreds of groupies are highly anticipating the arrival of a KC-area entourage tonight. And that's just for The Landmark's manly media hunks.
Back later. Springsteen is singing about Glory Days.
Posted midnight, Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Welcome to The Landmark's annual Chiefs Training Camp Coverage, provided on this thing they call the worldwide web. Expect daily updates at this location from now through Sunday, as your Landmark sports team is off on its Tour de Testosterone.
By the way, all the forthcoming journalistic excellence from Chiefs camp is made possible by our exclusive sponsor, Randy Reed Pontiac-Buick-GMC located on Barry Road near the Metro North Mall. Go buy a car from those guys. Try out one of those sweet 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix program vehicles. They can get you in one at the low price of $12,981. Tell their big guy Eric Gentry that The Landmark sent you.
Now that I have voluntarily kissed the backside of our sponsor, let me say what was shaping up to be a relatively ho-hum training camp became anything but normal with Wednesday's news that Priest Holmes intends to show up in River Falls on Saturday. Heck, before now, the main goal of your Landmark staffers at camp was to get in the background of HBO camera shots as the cable outfit films its special series on the Chiefs to be broadcast in August.
But now we've put on our game faces. It's all business now, boys and girls. The Captain's Blog is no place for the faint of heart. The official Landmark graphic designer even insisted I get a new mugshot taken to accompany this column. I'm just hoping my pretty face doesn't attract Internet pedophiles.
Yes, we intend to crank out some worthy website news, notes and quotes from camp while still trying to push our mugs in front of the HBO lens.
The presence of Holmes, who holds all kinds of club records in the rushing department, will certainly add a new dimension to the anticipated holdout of superstud running back Larry Johnson. Chiefs GM Carl Peterson and coach Herm Edwards both say Holmes is serious about making a comeback and his goal is to "help the Chiefs win a championship," according to Peterson.
Easy, Carl, let's not get silly on the Kool-Aid just yet, but if Holmes--who hasn't played since October of 2005 when he suffered a neck injury--is healthy and able to be a serious performer, it certainly would seem to give Peterson an ace in the hole in contract negotiations with Johnson. Johnson held all the aces--and let's be honest, he still has the better hand--until the announcement of Holmes' alleged return was made.
Conspiracy theorists no doubt are promoting the thought that Homes' appearance is a cooked-up ploy between the Priest and Carl with the simple goal of putting Johnson in a more compromising negotiating position.
Let's see how this plays out.
Your Landmark team will hit the road for River Falls at about noon on Thursday. This year I'm armed with the technology to even do these web site updates from the comfort of our northbound I-35 vehicle, so you can virtually expect some real-time blogging. Gone are the days of your grandfather's road trips, baby. Don't know about you, but I think this wild and crazy thing they call the Internet might just be here to stay.
Talk to you again soon.