Loss of Eric Berry Stings Chiefs

Posted Sep 12, 2011

Pro Bowl safety lost for season with knee injury

Another hurdle has been added as the Chiefs attempt to move forward from Sunday’s season opening loss to Buffalo. Todd Haley announced in his press conference Monday afternoon that Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry has been lost for the season with a left knee injury.

“That’s one of those that digs you deep, first and foremost, just from a standpoint of knowing how hard he’s worked and how much it means to him,” Haley said. “I know he was really excited to be named a captain by his peers and it’s devastating for him. That’s the biggest heartache for me.”

Berry first exited Sunday’s game on the second snap from scrimmage after Bills WR Steve Johnson delivered a down-field cut block near the Kansas City goal line. After being briefly attended to by Kansas City’s medical staff, Berry would walk off the field on his own power.

He returned to the game two snaps later and attempted to defend TE Scott Chandler on a quick-hitter from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Berry was unable to get to Chandler in time and Buffalo took an early 7-0 lead. At the time, Berry jogged off the field.

Berry was also in the game for the first play of Buffalo’s next drive as well, but it would be his last of the 2011 season. As RB C.J. Spiller completed a seven-yard run on an inside handoff, Berry fell to the ground untouched and away from the play.

Trainers again came onto the field and Berry limped off with assistance. He was treated on a sideline training table before heading inside the 50-yard line tunnel to the Chiefs locker room. He’d later return to the sideline with a wrapped left knee, but wouldn’t re-enter the game.

“I’ve said it a million times, injuries happen,” Haley said. “People are going to go down and I’m sure across the league a number of guys were probably lost for the season yesterday. I don’t know that to be fact, but I’m guessing and I think that the teams that are able to handle that and have guys step in and up…in the case of Eric, I believe that it’s not going to be just one person.

“It’s going to be every special teams player, ever defensive player and every offensive player. They’ll have to elevate their game to counter-balance that loss of a very unique kid who I think can be a great player in the league.”

Defensively, the Chiefs replaced Berry in base sets with veteran Jon McGraw. Free agent addition Sabby Piscitelli took over Berry’s post when the Chiefs went into the nickel defense. Berry played every defensive snap for the Chiefs last season and was also a significant special teams contributor.

In college, he never missed a single game or practice.

Berry is the fifth Chiefs player to suffer a season-ending injury. Rookie OLB Gabe Miller, veteran T Ryan O’Callaghan and unrestricted free agent addition LB Brandon Siler were all lost for the year during training camp. TE Tony Moeaki suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Chiefs preseason finale at Green Bay.

Last year, the Chiefs lost only eight players to season-ending injuries. Two of those players – TE Brad Cottam and WR Chandler Williams – were ruled out prior to training camp.

“I just know that we lost one of our best players and that hurts,” Haley said.

Berry’s 2011 season lasted just four plays.

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