After missing well over a year’s worth of time, Kansas City Chiefs star safety Eric Berry finally returned to the field. The road to recovery for the 29-year-old Pro Bowl safety has been difficult, to say the least. Ever since going down with an injury during the first week of the 2017 season, Berry has struggled to get himself back onto the field. For months he’s been told he would be able to return soon, but the timetable for return kept dragging on.
Finally, on Thursday Night Football the veteran was given the green light to go to kick off the final three-game stretch of the season. The timing couldn’t be any better for the Chiefs. At this point, the Chiefs are going to be headed to the playoffs, but the road is going to be far from easy. On offense, the Chiefs are pretty solid, despite a few setbacks. On defense, well, they could use some work. The addition of Berry is undoubtedly going to make a difference.
Unfortunately, Berry’s return wasn’t exactly what everybody expected. Now, don’t get it twisted; Eric Berry wasn’t bad at all during his first game back. He registered the third-most tackles on the Chiefs defense with six tackles. And had he saw more playing time, there’s probably a good chance that he could’ve led the team. Eric Berry might be healthy enough to play, but four quarters is just too much for the star right now.
How Much Time Did Eric Berry Miss?
Eric Berry is back, but not entirely. The greatest part about the Chiefs being in a good position throughout the year with their record is that they don’t feel like they have to rush Berry back into his role on the defense. If Kansas City wasn’t in the position that they are currently in, it’s possible that Berry could’ve expedited his return. But being that the Chiefs are clearly going to make their way into the postseason by means of their offense, there’s was no reason to rush Berry back out onto the field.
Berry returned, but only for a half. He started the game out, and the Chiefs decided to sit him out during the second half. Is he injured? No. Apparently, this was all a part of the original plan. The unfortunate part about it is that the Chiefs could’ve used Berry down the stretch. While it’s not an ideal situation, you have to credit the Chiefs for sticking to their guns and rolling with their original plan of only playing Berry for the first half despite needing him during the second.
How Long Will This Last?
“We just wanted to be smart about the whole situation,” Berry said. “We came in with a plan and we just stuck with it. We didn’t want to push it past that. That was between me and [Reid]. We just talked about it and felt I was good where I was at.”
“I probably could have come back last week. But it was still that hesitation, I guess. I didn’t feel it in my spirit, so I just said I’ll wait until this week. Just trusting my instincts, just listening to it and staying true to that. Obviously, I wanted to be out there in the second half, but like I said, we came in with a plan and we stuck to it.”
Don’t count on Berry coming back and being a full go right away. By the sound of it, Berry may not play a full game until playoffs roll around and it really matters. While he’s playing it smart from a physical standpoint, it sounds like his return might be a bit of a mental setback as well. After everything Berry has been through in the past, it’s only right that he eases his way back into a role, rather than rushing. Especially when the season is almost finished already.