Chiefs Sadly Release a Fan Favorite Before Having to Pay Him Millions

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Kansas City announced the release of longtime safety Eric Berry on Wednesday.

The five-time pro-bowler was a staple of the Chiefs' defense when healthy, but he struggled to stay on the field in recent years, including having to sit out most of last season with an Achilles injury.

"I'd like to thank Eric for his contributions to our team and the Kansas City community over the last nine years", Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid said. He would have been guaranteed $7.5 million of salary on Friday. He's played in a grand total of three games over the past two seasons.

In his nine-year National Football League career, Berry has played in 89 games (87 starts).

They also have agreed to a three-year contract with former Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu. "We wish him nothing but the best".

"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".

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The move is the latest in an offseason defensive overhaul for the Chiefs, who fired Bob Sutton within days of an AFC Championship Game.

The move to release Berry comes on the heels of the Chiefs releasing linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford. Then it picked up steam once Spagnuolo examined the personnel and decided that numerous pieces did not fit with his preferred 4-3 system.

Berry's career with the Chiefs was marked by incredible peaks and valleys.

Berry has 14 interceptions in his career, returning five for touchdowns.

Following the 2015 season, Berry was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award and received the Ed Block Courage Award after overcoming Hodgkin's lymphoma.