Chiefs’ Eric Berry says second-half absence was planned
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry played his first game in over a season and a half on Thursday after dealing with a painful heel injury, and he looked good. He had a team-high six tackles as they led 14-7 going into halftime.
However, Berry didn’t play a single snap in the second half, and the Chiefs defense collapsed without him. They coughed up their 14-point fourth-quarter lead and ended up losing 29-28 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
After the game, though, Berry clarified that his second-half absence wasn’t due to his heel injury. Instead, it was the plan he and coach Andy Reid had all along in order to work him in slowly after his long absence.
“We just wanted to be smart about the whole situation,” said Berry per Adam Teicher of ESPN. “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.”
It was reported prior to the game that Berry would only play limited snaps against the Chargers, and that proved to be the case.
It certainly makes sense for Berry and the Chiefs to take a more cautious approach, especially given his injury history. After such a long time in the sideline, it was understandably too risky to immediately put him out there playing stressful second-half snaps in a big game.
In the big picture, it seems like the wise move to work Berry back into game shape slowly during the last couple games of the season and hope he can get back to full speed for the playoffs.