Saskatchewan Roughriders multi-purpose back Corey Holmes, who broke away for 3,455 combined yards during the 2005 CFL season, doesn't have enough breakaway speed for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
"(The Colts) worked me out last week, then my agent called them back and they told him they were a little concerned about my breakaway speed,'' Holmes said from Greenville, Miss., where he got married last month. "They didn't believe I had the breakaway speed to play at their level.
"That's how they feel. So we told them, 'Thank you for bringing me in and thank you for considering me.' I appreciated them bringing me in, that they had some interest in me and that they were watching me.''
No other NFL teams have arranged workouts with Holmes, he said, although his agent has contacted some teams to gauge their interest.
"Right now there are lots of people who feel I can play football, but it's all about them saying 'He's a football player, let's see what he can do,' '' said Holmes.
"I'm hoping people can see that. If not I'll keep working on my career up there, where people are giving me a chance to show that I'm a football player.
"You always want to be in a place where you're wanted. So far I know they want me in Saskatchewan, all my supporters up there. I thank (Roughriders general manager Roy) Shivers and coach (Danny Barrett) and the whole province of Saskatchewan for giving me the opportunity.''
Holmes led the CFL and set a Roughriders record with last season's all-purpose yardage total -- 1,157 in kickoff returns, 835 in punt returns, 899 in rushing yards and 523 in receiving yards. He also had five touchdowns.
He started the Roughriders' season with a kickoff-return touchdown and finished as the CFL's oustanding special teams player, plus he was the runner-up to Toronto Argonauts quarterback Damon Allen as the league's outstanding player. Holmes' efforts certainly drew the attention of Cal Murphy, a Regina-based Colts scout and longtime CFL coach.
"C'mon, Cal, leave my player alone,'' Barrett said with a chuckle. "Naww, if our players get opportunities I'm happy for them. How can they not want to try the NFL?
"I don't get too worked up about it until everything's over and we see what happened.''
When Holmes attended his Indianapolis workout he was joined by fellow CFLers, including Edmonton Eskimos defensive lineman Rashad Jeanty, Hamilton Tiger-Cats tailback Jesse Lumsden and Ottawa Renegades defensive back Korey Banks.
"Jeanty had a nice workout; I thought they might sign him,'' Holmes said. "Overall we all did well.
"Coming off playing 18 games in a six-month season, then somebody calls you in January and expects you to run a 4.5, a 4.4(-second sprint over 40 yards) after a season like that, that's what it's about. They get it in their mind that we might be football players, give us a chance and if it doesn't work out we've got a place to go back to.''
Holmes, 29, is approaching his sixth CFL season. Because he's entering the option year of his CFL contract he can attend workouts and sign with an NFL team before Feb. 15. Shivers and Barrett would also like to re-sign Holmes, who was the fans' choice as most popular player last season.
"We haven't talked about (a new contract),'' said Holmes, who said he was "shocked and sad'' to hear that offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille had joined the Montreal Alouettes and offensive line coach Carl Brennan had joined the Eskimos.
"I talked to (receivers coach Tim) Kearse the other day, but haven't spoken to Mr. Shivers and D.B. since just before I left.
"Right now they're trying to upgrade, so I'm always willing to sit on the back burner until they get everything else fixed, let them get everything else taken care of first, then I can be the last item on the list.''