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Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who hasn’t played since rupturing his Achilles in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season, will return to the field on Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Berry’s return comes in a timely fashion, as the 11-2 Chiefs will win the AFC West with a victory over the 10-3 Bolts. A loss would leave the division in a deadlock with two games remaining.
A three-time All-Pro, Berry dominated in his last full season (2016) thanks to 77 tackles and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
That campaign is more remarkable considering Berry was in treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014 and 2015. The former Tennessee star also overcame a torn ACL in 2011 and high ankle sprain in 2014 that sidelined him for extended periods of time.
His 2018 season has been shortened by a Haglund’s deformity, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. As Garafolo explained, “that’s a bone spur that basically digs into the Achilles.”
How much Berry will play down the stretch (or how effective he will be) is unclear, but if there’s anyone in the league who can overcome a serious setback as if nothing happened, it’s him.
Furthermore, as BJ Kissel of chiefs.com noted, Berry has phenomenal leadership and intangibles. Of note, he led offseason film sessions with younger players during the team’s 2018 minicamp. His on-field leadership should be key down the stretch for a Chiefs defense that ranks just 26th in Football Outsiders DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average).
The playoff-bound Chiefs close the regular season at the 8-5 Seattle Seahawks and home versus the 3-10 Oakland Raiders.