The worst fears for the Kansas City Chiefs have come true. Eric Berry is done for the year.
The veteran safety injured his Achilles tendon late in last night’s opening week victory over the New England Patriots, getting carted off the field in the immediate aftermath. Head coach Andy Reid confirmed to reporters that Berry suffered a rupture.
“You’re not going to replace Eric Berry with another Eric Berry,” Reid said. “We’ve obviously got some guys here we know that can play.”
Backups Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray are the two immediate options for the Chiefs at safety. Free agents who could be brought in to reinforce the position are Jairus Byrd, Dwight Lowery and Steven Terrell; the latter spent preseason with the team before getting released at the final roster cutdown.
Berry, in his eighth year with Kansas City, has been one of the best defensive backs in the league since being drafted 5th overall in 2010. He’s made 5 Pro Bowls and 3 All-Pro teams during his time with the Chiefs, earning wide respect across the NFL as a result.
However, this isn’t the first health setback Berry has faced during his career. He tore his ACL early on in his second season, returning from the injury a year later in 2012. Then in December of 2014, Berry took on his biggest challenge yet: cancer.
After complaining to team doctors about chest pains, Berry was diagnosed with Hogkin’s lymphoma. He immediately stopped football activities to focus on treatment, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. Nine months later, he was cancer free and back on the field. 2015 was perhaps his best season overall, and he was rewarded with the Comeback Player of the Year honor for his perserverance.
Going the rest of the way without Berry, especially after such a huge triumph over the Patriots, won’t be easy for Kansas City. An Achilles rupture is also one of the toughest injuries to recover from. Here’s hoping that Berry can bounce back like he has in the past.