Safety Eric Berry wants to remain a member of the Chiefs, and he won’t play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
At an event at Mission Trail Middle School in Olathe, Berry said his agent had a conversation with the Chiefs earlier this week and his desire is to remain in Kansas City.
“I hope so,” Berry said. “I think my agent had a conversation yesterday … It’s early.”
Berry made $10.8 million as the Chiefs’ franchise player last season. If the Chiefs don’t sign him to a long-term contract and place the franchise tag on him again, he’ll cost about $13 million in 2017.
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Berry, 28, is coming off perhaps the best of his seven NFL seasons. He returned interceptions for touchdowns at Carolina and Atlanta, plus a two-point defensive conversion to provide the winning points against the Falcons.
Teammates cite the value of his strong locker room presence and leadership role, not that coach Andy Reid needed reminding.
“I think everybody here would love to have Eric back,” Reid said last week after the Chiefs were eliminated in the playoffs. “We feel he’s a big part of the team. I don’t think that’s different in the front office …
“You just have to wait those things out and see how it goes.”
Berry said he declined an opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., but it wasn’t because of the threat of injury.
“I’ve been through a lot, so I’m not scared really of injury,” said Berry, who missed the final five games of the 2014 season while battling Hodgkin lymphoma. “I just need time to reflect.
“I just had a chance to visit my aunt, who is battling (breast) cancer. It’s just more of a life thing and a family thing.”
Berry, who was selected for his fifth Pro Bowl, will be replaced by the Broncos’ Darian Stewart.
Berry was at the school to greet Sophie Schneider, a seventh-grader who won the NFL Play 60 Super Bowl contest and will be “Good Morning America’s” kid correspondent at the Super Bowl.