KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The Kansas City Chiefs continue making major changes to their roster, and said goodbye to safety Eric Berry on Wednesday.
Berry, a five-time Pro Bowler with Kansas City, started 87 games for in nine seasons. The Chiefs took him out of Tennessee in the 2010 NFL draft with the fifth overall pick.
He made headlines across the country in 2014 when he had to step away from football to fight Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After rejoining the team in September of 2015, Berry earned the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year award and his teammates voted him to win the Derrick Thomas Award as the team’s MVP.
When healthy, Berry was a game-changing player, but the man who defeated cancer had been sidelined for almost two straight years by an ankle injury.
He was able to make his return towards the end of last season, only to be sidelined by more ankle pain, and suddenly the safety was a $78 million burden.
Despite the love Chiefs fans, cancer patients and cancer survivors feel towards Berry, the organization felt the right football move was to cut ties.
“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I want to thank Eric for his many contributions to the Chiefs over the last nine seasons,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement.
“Seeing his passion and watching his love for the game has been truly remarkable,” head coach Andy Reid added. “He’s a special person, and we wish him the best as his career moves forward.”
Fans and teammates were quick to show support for Berry.
I don’t think I’ve ever played with someone that loves the game of football as much as Eric Berry. Great teammate and leader.— Jeff Allen (@JeffAllen71) March 13, 2019
I've been a @Chiefs fan for the past 30 years and I can safely say that Eric Berry is one of the greatest to come through Kansas City in that time. Thanks for the memories. #ChiefsKingdom https://t.co/LnlCzZskRN— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) March 13, 2019
The release is just the latest in a number changes to the defensive side of the ball. Llinebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford will be gone, but Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu will be added to the secondary.
This is a developing story. Please stay with KCTV5 News and KCTV5.com for updates.