"Work before reward": A motto that has fueled Priest Holmes throughout his life both on and off the field as a NFL running back.
8,172 rushing yards and 86 rushing touchdowns later, Priest has been using his knowledge and success both in life and football to reach out to young football players in his hometown of San Antonio. On July 8th-9th at Lopez Middle School, Holmes will be instructing at a Sports International two-day football camp, where he can show younger athletes that the NFL can be more than just a dream.
"Often times, you have to put in the work first in order to experience the reward," Priest said. "This valuable lesson truly enhanced my life in every capacity and has stayed with me over the years. I apply the "work before reward" concept to many of the things I do each day."
It was this attitude that has led to a great football career for Priest, a three-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro Selection, and recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2004 for his ability to exemplify his commitment to sportsmanship and courage. He's also been recognized as the Offensive Player of the Year and Running Back of the Year in 2002 to go along with a number of All-Time Chiefs records including touchdowns (83) and rushing yards (6,070). However, none of these awards and recognitions compare to winning the ultimate prize as a member of the 2000 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
"I seem to describe it as if it was a dream (the Super Bowl), but for me it was my dream come true. On the opening kickoff, the ball spun in the air for several seconds, which seemed like an eternity," Holmes remembers. "I saw thousands and thousands of flashes from cameras going off in the stands. It completely brought perspective to the opportunity at hand."
Despite the numerous achievements, it wasn't always easy for Priest, who after a torn Achilles, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens. Priest remained unstirred and worked as hard as he could to prove himself in the NFL.
"After being passed up (in the draft), it gave me more determination and drive. I knew I had all the proper work ethics and capabilities to get there (the NFL). I had to show perseverance and believe in myself no matter what the critics had to say," says Holmes.
For the past fourteen years, Priest has been helping out the San Antonio area including hosting camps, bringing sponsorships to the San Antonio area for disadvantaged youth, providing services as a motivational speaker, and event planning. For Priest, this isn't just another chance to give back to the San Antonio community, but it also gives him a chance to reach to more kids through the Priest Holmes Foundation Scholarships Program.
"It will allow more opportunity for people to gain knowledge and have the opportunity to be a recipient. The PHF Scholarship and Standards Program seeks to give students the tools they need to succeed by offering financial support to students who have shown a commitment towards continuing their education," Holmes states.
Holmes believes that camps offer insight to what the children want to become. "They show you how to overcome some of the biggest challenges and see firsthand overcoming injuries to being that beloved player on the cover of their favorite video game. This is the opportunity for them to see, believe, and be coached by these people."
Article by Casey McDonnell
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