Berry, Chiefs agree to deal
AP Sports Writer
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) – Eric Berry’s tweet was true.
The Kansas City Chiefs confirmed Friday they signed the star safety from Tennessee, about nine hours after he said on his Twitter account that he’d come to terms.
The Chiefs did not release details but ESPN was reporting the 6-year deal was potentially worth $60 million.
The 6-foot, 211-pound Berry was the fifth player drafted last April after starting 39 games at Tennessee and totaling 245 tackles, 14 interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
Chiefs coach Todd Haley said following Friday afternoon’s practice that he hadn’t been told anything but hoped the tweet was accurate.
Berry seemed delighted to make the announcement earlier.
“Bout to head to St. Joe!!! Aka the deals done,” he tweeted.
ESPN said the deal was for six years and $60 million, with $34 million guaranteed. That would make him the highest-paid safety in history. Messages to Berry’s agent were not immediately returned.
The defensive secondary was one of the weakest areas on one of the weakest defenses in the NFL last year, a big reason the Chiefs finished 4-12 and gave up big plays almost every game.
Asked if he was relieved to know there would be no long holdout by the star safety from Tennessee who’s being counted on as an instant starter, Haley shrugged.
“I don’t know that’s even a fact,” he said. “I don’t know that anything’s official with him. I don’t know if anything’s done, signed or not signed. As soon as anything’s up, somebody will make an announcement.”
The Chiefs for years have had a history of first-round draft picks holding out of camp. Berry’s reporting on Saturday would mean every rookie and veteran is in camp.
“I’m crossing my fingers that that’s the situation,” said Haley. “There’s so little time as it is. You need to maximize your time and be efficient. Who’s here, we’ll coach. Who’s healthy, we’ll coach.”
Chiefs general Scott Pioli, signing autographs for fans following Friday afternoon’s practice, declined to speak with reporters.
In the meantime, Haley was ecstatic with the first practice and the new facilities, which were built at a cost of almost $14 million on the campus of Missouri Western State University.
For the past 19 years, the Chiefs trained in River Falls, Wis., about a nine-hour drive from KC. But St. Joseph is only about one hour from Arrowhead Stadium.
When a violent thunderstorm blew through the area Friday morning, Haley hustled his team into the new climate-controlled indoor facility.
“I cannot say enough about the setup here,” Haley said. “As a coaching staff, we took a little tour last night and we were really fired up. The meeting rooms, the dining, the fields, the stadium. We’ll just be able to get a lot done.”
No member of the Chiefs family was having a rougher time on the field than first-year offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. The former Notre Dame head coach had a big brace on his left leg and moved around the field on a motorized cart. When he got out of the cart, he walked with difficulty using a cane.
“Charlie had a last-minute something,” said Haley. “His knee went out at the 11th hour. As bad a timing as you could have for him. But he toughed it out and found a way to get through and I thought he did a heck of a job.”
Haley declined to say how Weis had hurt the knee or how long he would need the cart and the brace.
“I made my comment. He’ll get mad at me,” Haley said with a grin. “We’re not talking about injuries – coaches, players.”