Kansas City Chiefs fans may have been slightly puzzled when the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced.
Among the players who will enter the Hall of Fame later this year is Terrell Davis. The same Terrell Davis who is the 55th all-time rusher. The same Terrell Davis who is 212th in all-purpose yards. The same Terrell Davis who is ranked 143rd all-time in yards from scrimmage. The same Terrell Davis who is ranked 48th all-time in rushing touchdowns.
If Terrell Davis is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Priest Holmes should also be in. You see, Priest Holmes ranks well ahead of Davis in all of those categories and more.
People can argue that Davis’ career was derailed by injuries, and that is a fair point. To an extent, so was Holmes’. Plus, Holmes served as a backup for four years in Baltimore, where he obviously was good enough to be a starter.
Davis had three amazing years, from 1996 through 1998, where he amassed 5,296 yards rushing. He also gained 814 yards receiving in those seasons.
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Those seasons all came after he ran for 1,117 yards and had 367 yards receiving his rookie year. In those first four seasons, Davis scampered for 56 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns.
Injuries took over from there as Davis would only play in 17 more games over the next three seasons1,194 yards rushing.
Priest Holmes had three incredible seasons of his own. From 2001 through 2003, Holmes racked up 4,590 rushing yards, about 700 less than Holmes in his three-year run.
Holmes, however, had 1,976 receiving yards, too – well over 1,100 more than Davis in his three big seasons.
Holmes had 56 rushing touchdowns, just like Davis in those seasons, and five receiving scores, just like Davis.
Holmes was well on his way to adding a fourth fantastic season in a row in 2004 before he was injured. In the first eight games of that season, Holmes accumulated 892 yards (111.5 per game) rushing, added another 187 yards receiving, and scored 15 more touchdowns.
Unfortunately, his injury ended his season, and effectively, his career. He only played 11 more games before retiring in 2007.
If Holmes could have completed that 2004 season at the pace on which he was on, would he too be getting ready to enter the Hall of Fame?
As a back-up in Baltimore, Holmes ran for 1,008 in 1998 after not carrying the ball as a rookie. In all, he had 2,102 yards rushing and 585 yards receiving for the Ravens.
Recall where Davis ranks all time. Let’s compare those numbers to where Holmes ranks.
- 46th in rushing
- 113th in all-purpose yards
- 76th in yards from scrimmage
- 15th in rushing touchdowns
- 26th in total touchdowns
Both averaged 4.6 yards per carry, ranked 27th all-time among all players. Holmes averaged 8.7 yards per catch, and Davis averaged 7.6. Davis did have 170 fewer receptions and 115 fewer rushes than Holmes.
Each went to three Pro Bowls, and each was a First Team All-Pro three times. Davis had a 2,000-yard year and won a Super Bowl MVP. He was an NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year twice; Holmes just once. Davis also was the league MVP once. Holmes could have been – he set the NFL record for touchdowns two years in a row.
It was not unprecedented to put a player in the Hall of Fame because of an abbreviated career. Gale Sayers is the most famous example. It’s just that if Terrell Davis is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Priest Holmes should be, too.
Maybe Priest Holmes will get his day in the spotlight – just don’t hold your breath.