Around The Web: Priest The Mentor, Herman’s Head

Kansas City Chiefs running back Dantrell Savage is hoping to make his name in the NFL after being an undrafted free agent last season.  Who better to get advice from than one of the most famous undrafted free agents in the history of the NFL in Priest Holmes?  Holmes will mentor the young Savage before the Chiefs head off for training camp next month.Priest1

Savage and Holmes have talked several times over the phone but haven’t yet met in person.  That meeting will happen soon after Savage heads to San Antonio to assist Holmes with his football camp.  The two will also work out together.  Holmes’ conditioning sessions are legendary for their length and intensity, but Savage is ready.

“Our coaches at Oklahoma State would kill us with the workouts, so I’ll be ready for that.  I went on the Internet to look up the workouts he does.  Those are definitely hard workouts, but I’ll be ready.”

Like Savage, Holmes was an afterthought entering the NFL.  At 5-9 and 210 pounds coming out of Texas, Holmes wasn’t drafted in 1997 and signed with Baltimore.  He played mainly on special teams as a rookie but rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his second season.  Still, only the Chiefs were interested when he became a free agent in 2001 — and even they believed at the time of his signing he was too small to be a featured back.  Holmes proved that to be wrong his first year in Kansas City, leading the league in rushing.  He had an even better season in 2002, and set an NFL record for touchdowns with 27 in 2003.

Few are predicting that kind of future for Savage, so perhaps his sessions with Holmes are coming at an opportune time.  The Chiefs have a new coaching staff, and Savage will get a look during training camp.  But he lost an ally when former head coach Herm Edwards was fired.  Savage is no better than third in line at running back behind Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles.  Kolby Smith is trying to return from last year’s season-ending knee surgery, and Jackie Battle and seventh-round draft pick Javarris Williams are also in the competition.

“Practice went real good.  We’re doing a lot of different things, a lot of new things.  Running backs are catching the ball more out of the backfield.  We’re lining up as a receiver, a slot receiver, and we’re going in motion.  Last year, we didn’t do that much at all, so I think I have the skills to help out.”

Savage is most definitely a long shot to make this year’s team, but working out with someone like Priest will go a long way to improve his chances.  His main competition on the depth chart at running back will be the rookie Williams.  He’ll also help his case if he can prove to be a better option returning kicks than rookie Quinten Lawrence.

For the first time in over 30 years, Herman Edwards is not preparing for an NFL training camp as a player or coach.  The Monterey County Herald caught up with the former Chiefs head coach at the 14th annual Herm Edwards Football Camp at Monterey Peninsula College about his thoughts now that he is out of the coaching world.Herm5

Edwards turned down offers from five NFL teams  to be an assistant coach and separate offers from two colleges.

“I thought about it.  I really felt like I needed to evaluate where I’m at.  To tell you the truth, it feels good.  I don’t miss it at all.  Of course, that’s easy to say because the season hasn’t started yet.”

Edwards, 55, isn’t shutting the door on a return to coaching.  But after 30 years, coaching isn’t a priority in life.

“As you get older, priorities change.  Why would I want to go back to working 17 hour days?  I want to spend more time with my two daughters.  I missed a lot of that when my son Marcus was growing up.”

In eight years as an NFL coach, Edwards took four teams to the playoffs.  He is the Jets second all-time winningest playoff coach and was the first coach in Kansas City to take a team to the playoffs in his first year as a coach.

“What I never wanted to do was embarrass the league.  I’m big on integrity.  I feel like I’ve left each team better than when I started. I feel like I’ve helped a lot of players.”

Edwards insists that going through a stretch where the Chiefs went 3-22 over the last 25 games of his coaching tenure did not leave a bad taste in his mouth.

“We lost seven games by seven points or less last year.  Why? We had no experience.  We had to do it with 20 rookies.  We couldn’t finish in the fourth quarter.  I was coaching a college team.  But I had fun.  And we got better.  I believe I’ve made it better for the next guy.”

Edwards almost makes is sound like his coaching days are over.

“You never say never.  You always leave the door open.  If I choose to come back, I have the option.  But my girls are getting used to seeing me home.  You don’t realize how many people you’ve touched until you are out the game.  For me, it’s always been about making a difference.  That’s what this camp is about.”

Oh boy, where to start.  Edwards made a difference in Kansas City, that’s for sure.  He managed to eliminate one of the league’s best home field advantages.  He pushed for rebuilding in Kansas City and after he can’t make it work he wants to blame the losses on a coaching a “college team”?  Edwards seems like a nice guy that everyone likes, but lets be honest: he was a terrible NFL head coach.  Maybe down the road he comes back as an assistant or coordinator, but I feel confident saying no team will ever hire Edwards to be a head coach ever again.

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