KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs annual kickoff luncheon aims to celebrate the team’s new season, but the one notable person not in attendance – safety Eric Berry – sparked the first question for team CEO Clark Hunt.
Media reports indicate Berry, who has yet to report to the team after failing to come to terms on a new contract, will end his holdout and join the Chiefs Sunday. Hunt said he has not been involved in discussions with Berry about his decision.
“I can’t confirm the report but we do expect Eric to show up soon,” Hunt said. “We’re looking forward to having him back with the team. He’s a very important part of the team, a tremendous leader both on and off the field, and we look forward to getting him here and getting him going.”
News that the Raiders have applied for at trademark for the Las Vegas Raiders prompted questions for Hunt about the next wave of NFL relocation, with the Chargers also contemplating their future in San Diego.
“My hope is that every NFL team can stay in its existing market,” Hunt said. “The Raiders have a great fan base, we love playing them in Oakland. If you just go back through the history of the Chiefs and Raiders, some great games, some important games over time.”
Hunt said he prefers the Raiders and Chargers stay where they are, and it would be disappointing to see the teams relocated.
“There would be a part of me that would be sad,” Hunt said. “I think one of the great things about sports, and including professional sports, is traditions. We’ve had a tremendous 56-year tradition with those franchises.”
The four teams comprising today’s AFC West have been together since 1960, with only the Broncos remaining in the same city from the beginning. But Hunt noted the rivalries have persisted.
“I think that’s one of the things our fans enjoy. They love the rivalry with the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego chargers, so I’m hoping they’re both able to find solutions in their home markets.”
Hunt also addressed questions regarding the contract dispute between the Chargers and first-round draft pick Joey Bosa. The Chargers and Bosa’s agent both publicly aired their grievances this week on social media.
Hunt did not want to comment specifically about the dispute, but said the Chiefs adhere strictly to their policy of not negotiating contracts in public.
“Everybody makes those decisions individually,” Hunt said. “Certainly we have a way we operate here in Kansas City. I’ve found that over time it’s not positive to publicly discuss contract negotiations, whether it’s a coach, a player or a front office executive, so it’s just not something we do here at the Chiefs.”