Eric Berry and the Chiefs: Inspiration and unfulfilled potential


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The great Eric Berry moments during his now-finished career at safety with the Kansas City Chiefs were many.
Everybody has a favorite.
His triumphant return from cancer in 2015. How he smothered Rob Gronkowski in the 2017 opener against the Patriots. His interception return of an Atlanta two-point conversion attempt to give the Chiefs a one-point win in 2016. His sideline words of wisdom for Marcus Peters in a 2016 game against the Panthers after his teammate drew a penalty for inexplicably kicking the ball into the stands in the fourth quarter of a tie game.
There are plenty of reasons to remember Berry in a positive way despite the fact he's given the Chiefs very little from a tangible standpoint since that 2017 opener against the Patriots. In fact, the six-year, $78 million contract Berry signed two years ago turned into one of the worst in team history.
Berry, who joined the Chiefs in 2010 as their first-round draft pick, was with Kansas City for nine years. He missed a substantial portion of four seasons, leaving his career as mystifying as that of any great football player ever to come through Kansas City: What could Berry have accomplished had he played those other four seasons, had he not had to overcome a torn ACL, cancer, a ruptured Achilles tendon and last season's mysterious heel ailment?
It's safe to say he'd have many more great moments. Maybe the Chiefs, with Berry in their lineup, would have been able to hold onto an 18-point halftime lead against the Titans in the 2017 playoffs. Perhaps a healthy Berry could have checked Gronkowski and the Patriots on the last of New England's three third-down overtime completions in last season's AFC Championship Game.