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 RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -With Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson sitting out in a contract dispute and Priest Holmes making a surprise return, the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday opened what could be their most interesting training camp in many years.
Questions about Herm Edwards' quest to rebuild one of the league's oldest rosters are about as thick as the piney woods that ring this picturesque college town in western Wisconsin, where the Chiefs have been coming for 17 years to escape the energy-sapping Midwestern heat.
Many of the Chiefs' marquee players of the recent past are gone, including quarterback Trent Green, guard Will Shields and return specialist Dante Hall.
Who will replace Green? Edwards insists the competition will be fair between second-year man Brodie Croyle and 34-year-old career backup Damon Huard, who played well in eight games after Green got hurt last year.
Most observers feel that Croyle is projected as the quarterback of the future and it will be his job to lose.
By far the most-watched man in camp, however, will be Holmes. Out of football for 21 months since suffering neck and head trauma, the Chiefs' career rushing leader announced this week he would report to camp on Saturday.
His arrival adds a new twist to the situation surrounding Johnson, who is demanding guaranteed money in the $28-million range and will be fined more than $14,000 every day he misses camp.
Will Holmes be in shape? Can he possibly compete at 33 after being out of football since October 2005?
The Chiefs will probably put Holmes on the physically unable to perform list and not have him practice right away.
``His history of overcoming the odds are very good and he's done that in the past earlier in his career,'' Edwards said. ``He's a fantastic football player, a very good football player here, but he hasn't played in two years and you have to keep that in mind and make sure you protect him. He understands that, we're pulling for him to do it and we're going to give him every opportunity to do it.''
Edwards will have a new kicker, long snapper and return man to break in, making special teams one of the biggest mysteries as camp gets under way. Kicker Lawrence Tynes will be replaced by rookie fifth-round draft choice Justin Medlock.
The offensive line, long a strong point and a major reason the Chiefs had one of the NFL's most powerful attacks, must be substantially rebuilt. Left guard Brian Waters and center Casey Wiegmann are the only starters left from the great lines of recent years. Moving over from tackle to take over for Shields is John Welbourn.
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