When the deadline to sign Eric Berry to a long-term deal was coming this summer, I was thinking something would get done. Can you imagine the Chiefs without Berry, I would ask. Then ... nothing happened. He was tagged and eventually reported to the Chiefs before the season and here we are.
It’s after a week like this Berry played a key role in the Chiefs win - on and off the field - where it’s hard to imagine him not being here next year.
Berry’s interception and ensuing return against the Panthers was fantastic. Not many safeties in the league have return skills like that. Berry doesn’t pad the stat book enough for some but few question that he has some value to the Chiefs.
Additionally, Berry’s leadership is obvious. That’s what stood out to me this week. Marcus Peters punted the ball against the Jaguars a couple of weeks ago and Andy Reid indicated it would be addressed. The next week Peters did the same thing. This time instead of Reid saying he had addressed it, it was Berry who addressed it with Peters and told him that’s probably not the best idea. Anyone wanna guess whether he punts the ball again? I would guess not.
Leadership is a tough thing to quantify. We’re not in the locker room, we only see clips on TV of Berry talking to Peters after his punt or a few quotes in the paper on Berry firing everyone up at halftime. Those are real things and they matter. We don’t always see it but they do.
Berry’s value to the Chiefs beyond the playing field has been evident this week. The Chiefs have personalities on the team like Peters and Travis Kelce, guys who clearly love the game but will let their emotions get the best of them at times. These players are overall net positive without a doubt, flag throwing / punting or not. It’s tough, however, to have those types without the veteran leadership behind it. Berry is that leadership.
There’s a lot more to this - like how many zeroes are on that contract. I’m sitting here and I just can’t imagine the Chiefs secondary without Berry.