The Kansas City Chiefs began free agency Wednesday by cutting one of their most popular players in strong safety Eric Berry, who was a dynamic presence when he was healthy but had missed significant time throughout his career.
Berry played at Creekside High School.
While other teams were touting new additions, the Chiefs announced Berry's release shortly after the start of the new league year. He would have been guaranteed $7.5 million of salary on Friday.
"We continually evaluate every aspect of our football team and we came to the decision that it was in our best interest to release Eric," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "Knowing what Eric has meant to this organization and this city made this an incredibly difficult decision."
A three-time All-Pro, Berry was the Chiefs' first-round pick in the 2010 draft, and he quickly became a star, earning the first of five Pro Bowl invitations as a rookie. But he also missed most of the 2011 season with torn knee ligaments, most of the 2017 season with a torn Achilles' tendon, and nearly all of last season, when a mysterious heel injury kept him off the field for all but two games.
Berry also missed 10 games during the 2014 season when he was diagnosed with cancer, but he became a motivation to many when he concluded treatment and was back on the field the following summer.
"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 Clark Hunt said in a statement.
"Eric has been a tremendous leader for our football team and an inspiration to so many fans over the years," Hunt said, "and we sincerely appreciate all that he has meant to the Chiefs. He will always be an important part of our Chiefs family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future."
More NFL news:
-- The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms with free-agent running back Latavius Murray on a four-year contract.
Murray played for the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings following four seasons with the Raiders. He was a sixth-round draft pick by Oakland in 2013.
Murray ran for 578 yards with six touchdowns in 16 games, including six starts, for the Vikings in 2018.
-- The Los Angeles Chargers are signing Tyrod Taylor to a two-year contract to be Philip Rivers' backup, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the deal had not been formally announced. NFL Network first reported the signing.
Taylor has started 46 games during his eight-year career. He started the first three games last season for Cleveland before suffering a concussion and back injury against the New York Jets. Taylor was not able to regain his starting job due to the emergence of Baker Mayfield.
--- The Baltimore Ravens finally made their move during the NFL's free agent frenzy this week.
A person with knowledge of the situation says the Ravens have signed running back Mark Ingram and safety Earl Thomas.
Ingram played eight years with the New Orleans Saints and Thomas arrives after a nine-year run with Seattle.
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