It’s All Business For Kansas City Chiefs and Eric Berry

The Kansas City Chiefs Have Kept It All Business with Comeback Player of The Year, Eric Berry

Last season Chiefs safety Eric Berry was the feel good story of the year. Missing the end of the 2014 season to fight a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis–the same cancer that interrupted the career of NHL great Mario Lemieux–Berry returned to the field last September to thrills and cheers and awes. Just a few months removed from chemotherapy, he was amazingly back, healthy, and in football playing shape.

 

A fan favorite, with the rallying cry of Berry Strong uniting Chiefs fans and the former first round draft pick out of Tennessee, he put together an incredible 2015. Berry was named to the Pro Bowl, given first-team All-Pro honors, and he earned the Comeback Player of the Year Award. He also returned to a leadership role in a locker room that went to the playoffs and threatened to unseat Denver in the AFC West until the final weeks of the season. The world was Eric Berry’s.

 

Even when Kansas City used their franchise tag on Eric Berry in March, all was said to be good. Both sides wanted a long-term contract extension and it seemed an absolute given that the team wanted it, considering how popular Berry had become with their fans and how valuable he had become for their defense.

 

But negotiations wore on. According to reports, they got heated, with one story out of the NFL Network saying that the Chiefs had asked Eric Berry to pay for disability insurance in case his cancer returned, with the team as the named beneficiary. And then the July 15th deadline came and went, and there was no long-term contract.

 

Training camps are now open but Berry has yet to sign the franchise tag which would pay him $10.8 million this season. And because of that he has yet to report to camp. He kept himself in great football shape when he was in the middle of chemotherapy, so there isn’t a concern about him working out on his own. But with the Chiefs in a position to challenge for the AFC West title this season they can ill-afford the distraction of a holdout or do without his leadership for too long.

 

It could be that he signs the contract tender, returns to the team, and then once the postseason passes, he signs a long-term extension. That’s how it played out between the Chiefs and linebacker Justin Houston following the 2014 season. Or, in a worse case scenario, it could become a situation not unlike what happened in Carolina with cornerback Josh Norman. He refused to sign his tag, the team ended up rescinding it, and Norman now plays in Washington.

 

Whatever the case, it’s become an unfortunate chapter in the story of Eric Berry’s courageous battle with cancer and his triumphant return to the NFL.

Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

Team Parle has 1232 posts and counting. See all posts by Team Parle

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