What drove Priest Holmes out of the NFL is something most football players try to drive out of their thoughts.
They know it`s a dangerous, violent endeavor that can leave them unable to walk. Holmes, after making one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history, decided that as much as he loves the game, it wasn`t worth the risk of paralysis.
So the former Pro Bowl running back retired Wednesday, thanking the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL for all they had done.
Holmes is the Chiefs` all-time rushing leader with 6,070 yards. He accumulated 8,172 yards rushing in 11 seasons with Baltimore and Kansas City.
Â "I had to look at the situation for what it is," he said, flanked by Kansas City Chiefs president Carl Peterson on one side and his three young sons on the other.
He had been out of the game for 22 months after sustaining head and neck injuries in a game in 2005. Then he called Peterson in June and told him he wanted to try a comeback. He made it, too, after working so hard he earned the admiration of everyone who was watching. He made two starts in place of injured Larry Johnson the past two weeks. But last Sunday during a game at Indianapolis, he began to feel certain symptoms that doctors had warned him to watch for.
He refused to be specific, but during an often rambling series of answers said paralysis had been a possibility if he kept playing.
"Much of that is, I guess you could say, in the past," he said. "Just to know the symptoms were similar to the ones before. But to be technical, to go into medical terms, I wouldn`t feel comfortable."
His teammates seemed unanimous in their respect for the man who holds team career records for yards rushing.
"It`s probably the best decision that he could make for himself, for the rest of his life and for his family," said wide receiver Eddie Kennison.
"I try not to think about the dangers of the game. I understand what they are. I know they`re there. And no man really wants to go out of the game with an injury. But we chose this job to take those risks. That`s just part of it."
Tight end Tony Gonzalez had teamed with Holmes a few years ago when they were part of one of the NFL`s most explosive offenses.
"I told him my thoughts are with him and what an unbelievable career he`s had," Gonzalez said. "But you`ve got to be smart about this thing."
Rolle has epilepsy
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle was on the inactive list for six games this season. His malady was described by the team with one word: illness.
Rolle used a different word Wednesday to explain his absence, one that addressed his situation far more specifically.
Rolle kept it a secret for two months because he had trouble finding the right medication to keep his disorder in check.
"It`s under control now. That`s the main thing," he said. "Right now, I`m not scared."
The 31-year-old Rolle was unaware of his condition, even though he had unknowingly experienced minor seizures for around two years. During the third week of September, however, he had one major seizure. Then another.
Rolle missed three straight games. Tormented by seizures, headaches and memory loss, the 10-year veteran wondered if his career was over.
"I didn`t know if I could play, if I would be all right or anything," he said. "It was very scary."
Rolle was provided medicine from a specialist, which seemed to do the trick. He returned to play for two straight weeks, and then it happened again: another seizure.
"I was like, â€˜Man, what`s the problem?`" Rolle said.
The problem was that the medication wasn`t right. His prescription has since been corrected, and now he`s ready to resume his career, even if the Ravens have a losing record and very little chance of reaching the playoffs.
Bush likely to play
Saints running back Reggie Bush, who missed part of practice with a bruised left shin, is still expected to play in Sunday`s game at Carolina.
"We anticipate him being fine," coach Sean Payton said. "It`s something we`ll be able to work through."
Payton said Bush, who did not speak with reporters on, was kicked in the shin during the Saints` 23-10 loss at Houston on Sunday.
Miami`s Ricky Williams participated in his first full day of practice, his status for Monday`s game still unclear.
Dolphins coach Cam Cameron isn`t saying whether the running back will play at Pittsburgh.
Williams took part in agility exercises before he gathered with the team to stretch at the Dolphins` training facility.