Eric Berry’s health concerns force teams to be patient

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: Eric Berry /

Concerns about Eric Berry’s health has kept teams waiting on a green light before bringing him in or expressing interest in the free agent safety.

Eric Berry is still unemployed.

For the pragmatic among us, the idea of Eric Berry not having a team interested in him thus far is understandable given his health concerns in recent years. The Chiefs had already suffered through a couple seasons in which they had to make up for his lack of availability on the field and a third straight season just didn’t make any sense. The team moved forward with a complete renovation at safety this offseason and Berry is now firmly in the rearview mirror.

For the sentimental among us, however, the inability of Berry to return to the red and gold at all is something we’re still getting used to. It’s understandable on paper, but it’s hard to consider a team without someone so central to what it means to be a Chief in the first place. The leadership, the courage, the dynamism—Berry embodied everything we loved to cheer for as Chiefs fans.

Because of the deep love and inspiration, the idea that no one else has swooped in to grab Berry from free agency feels ridiculous. Don’t other teams know what they could be getting? Have teams forgotten what he can do? Who wouldn’t want to take a flier on such a player even if they do have to wait a while?

It look as if Brett Veach’s unwillingness to wait on Berry to get healthy while on the active roster was the same thing other GMs around the league are still thinking as they wait for someone from Berry’s camp to signal that he’s ready.

It’s not as if rumors haven’t swirled just yet. The Dallas Cowboys already met with Berry once this offseason and remain squarely in the mix for his services, per Ian Rapoport as of last month. The Cowboys could certainly use a safety upgrade and there’s enough offseason connection there to believe that a gentleman’s agreement might be in place—that Berry knows he has an audience in Jerry Jones the moment he’s ready to show he’s healthy.

Would it surprise anyone to see the Oakland Raiders also enter the picture? Jon Gruden’s love and appreciation for veterans like Berry has been clear for some time, and Berry would be an ideal tutor for first-round pick Jonathan Abram.

But here’s the thing. At this point, it’s all conjecture. It’s been a long time since there was any health report on Eric Berry at all, and we’re only a couple weeks away from teams reporting for training camp? Is there any real chance of Berry being ready to suit up for opening week? If he’s forced to miss more time, will he not shrink into a shell of his former self—akin to the sort of performance the Chiefs saw late last year?

The questions at this point are too many, and the silence from Berry’s camp means there are likely ,no answers coming soon. It might be a long time before we have any resolution to the question of whether or not Berry will ever return from his injuries.

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Berry had 11 total tackles in two games last season for the Chiefs.