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Holmes given medical clearance, likely to show at Chiefs camp

Unpredictable stories go to training camp along with players. But none can be any more unlikely than this:

While Michael Vick will not be at training camp, it now looks as if Priest Holmes will.

Chiefs players are now telling each other that, after two seasons away from football to nurse a spinal injury, the 33-year-old Holmes has been given medical clearance to play and he is planning to participate in this summer's training camp.

Running backs Michael Bennett and Larry Johnson, to name two players, are aware of Holmes' plans. Holmes' agent, Todd France, declined comment.

There also are other strong signs pointing to a Holmes comeback.

With camp kicking off Friday, Holmes still has yet to inform anyone in the Chiefs organization that he plans to retire. The feeling within the organization now is that he will attempt to resume his career.

If he does, he would be on the field Friday, while the embattled Vick is not.

''Priest is counting on our roster right now as an active player,'' one Chiefs official said recently.

Nor does it seem as if it will change anytime soon. Holmes' return, if it indeed happens as now is expected, makes sense on a number of levels.

For starters, Holmes is a player that has been counted out his entire career. Many, once again, thought he would be unable to return from his neck injury.

But Holmes repeatedly has defied odds throughout his career, whether it was going from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl running back, or coming back from other injuries that others thought he might not be able to overcome.

Holmes also never filed retirement papers; nor does he have any plans to do so any time. Holmes has been feeling better, good enough to attempt what many thought to be an unlikely comeback.

And if Holmes returns, it also provides the Chiefs with an additional dose of leverage in their contract disagreement with running back Larry Johnson, who has one year remaining on his current deal.

Johnson and the Chiefs are at least $14 million apart in guaranteed money, and the total might even be as high as $17 million. Each side appears to be entrenched in its stance, and Johnson intends to skip camp until he has a new contract.

With Holmes healthy and on the field, the Chiefs would have, if nothing else, a slightly higher degree of security at the running back position. They still would not know whether Holmes would be able to make it to and through the season, but they would have a back that has produced like few others in NFL history.

It all creates an intriguing storyline, one few expected. In a year when new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's two biggest issues have been dogfighting and ''making it rain''– and who could have predicted that – there now is another unlikely storyline shaping up in Kansas City.

Training camp is on Holmes' radar; it is not on Vick's.

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