Chiefs’ emotional leader Eric Berry fires up team for playoff run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Safety Eric Berry was just a rookie the last time the Kansas City Chiefs hosted a home playoff game, and he received some sage advice about having a sense of urgency come the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry spoke with reporters Wednesday as the team prepared for its divisional playoff meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo by Matt Derrick, ChiefsDigest.com)

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry spoke with reporters Wednesday as the team prepared for its divisional playoff meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo by Matt Derrick, ChiefsDigest.com)

“I specifically remember Thomas Jones telling me that,” Berry said. “He was the one that told me throughout the season about going from preseason to the regular season to December football into the playoffs. He just said it gets faster each phase.”

Berry said Jones was definitely right, and now he’s sharing that wisdom with his young teammates.

“A sense of urgency,” Berry said when asked what advice he offered rookies. “It’s going to be a little bit faster. That’s pretty much it.”

Berry addressed the team Wednesday morning before practice, and rookie Chris Jones stood among those ready to follow Berry where ever he leads.

“It was just like, ‘You’ve got to believe it in your heart,'” Jones said. ‘”All comes from within. If your heart believes, your mind and body will follow.'”

Jones says Berry’s message resonated throughout the team.

“It just made me feel like going to play,” Jones said. “Like one of those Ray Lewis speeches. When that guy talks, he grabs everybody’s attention because he doesn’t talk that much, but when he talks, everything he says is from the heart.”

Tackle Mitchell Schwartz said Berry’s words inspired him as well.

“A guy like that is the emotional leader throughout the year,” Schwartz said. “It’s not wanting to let somebody down that it all comes down to.”

Coach Andy Reid agreed with his veteran safety on the need for speed in the playoffs. He stressed the need for rookies to rely on the process that got them to the playoffs while understanding the need to play faster.

“You make sure you take it step by step, then you practice fast and make sure you’ve got that going,” Reid explained. “And then once you get out there, do what got you there.

“That’s how the playoffs are, so don’t be surprised by that,” Reid.

Certainly the words of the head coach ring loud and true, but Berry’s voice carries a different weight. In the Chiefs locker room, everyone listens when Berry speaks.

“It’s good to hear it from one of your own,” Schwartz said. “It takes on a different meaning when you hear it from one of your own guys.”

Jones agrees.

“Just the name it self means a lot,” Jones said. “Eric Berry, he’s the leader of this defense, the vocal point.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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