Chiefs training camp: Can Eric Berry return?


The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the National Football League. Most teams would kill for half the talent that defensive coordinator Bob Sutton employs, a unit boosted by first-round draft pick Marcus Peters. Without question, the seventh-ranked defense (total yards allowed) from last year can move into the top five in 2015.

Yet, there is a massive question surrounding the group. What can we make of the Eric Berry situation? As we all know, Berry has been undergoing treatment for his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. From all reports, Berry is doing well and is scheduled to consult with his doctor on his progress.

While the most important thing – by far – is Berry beating cancer and being able to have a normal, healthy life, the football side also factors in. If Berry is told that treatment worked and his cancer is in remission, can he come back in 2015? It seems almost insane to ask, but Berry is nothing short of a warrior. The man came back from a torn ACL to make the Pro Bowl in 2012. In fact, Berry has made the Pro Bowl each year he has been healthy, along with notching a First-Team All-Pro honor in 2013.

Even if Berry comes back for the last six weeks of the season, the lift for the defense would be unfathomably huge. Berry is the emotional leader of the group, something which can’t be quantified by mere stats. His return, especially from such a life-threatening battle, would be inspiring to us all. Frankly, thinking about him being introduced at Arrowhead gives me chills.

Should Berry be able to return, it would shuffle the starting safeties. Husain Abdullah would become the third man on the depth chart while Berry would slide in strong safety with Ron Parker playing free. Abdullah would still see ample time considering Sutton’s affinity for playing three safeties at once. The odd man out would be Tyvon Branch, who would only see the field in obvious run downs.

The Berry question remains to be answered, but it is something to watch. While it is tough to bet on him playing in 2015, it is equally hard, if not harder, to bet against him.