KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The updates on Chiefs safety Eric Berry since he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in November 2014 have been encouraging.
And arguably the most promising update arrived Tuesday following the Chiefs’ first practice of organized team activities (OTAs).
“He has been through all of the treatments and now the doctor is going to sit down with him and go over exactly what the results of that are,” coach Andy Reid said. “We don’t have that, Eric doesn’t have it quite yet, but everything up to this point has been very positive from the doctor and from Eric. I think we’re heading in the right direction with that.”
The Chiefs have maintained communications with Berry throughout the offseason, including a visit in January from team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt and general manager John Dorsey.
Reid and head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder have also kept in touch with Berry.
Whether Berry is able to return to the football field in 2015 remains to be seen, but the Chiefs are more concerned about the overall health of the All-Pro strong safety.
“His spirit is strong,” Reid said of Berry during the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s a stud every way you look at it. I mean, anybody that’s got to fight that, they’ve got a special place in my heart for sure.”
BACK IN ACTION
The Chiefs welcomed back numerous players who spent part or all of the 2014 season on injured reserve.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito return from ruptured Achilles injuries; offensive lineman Jeff Allen returns from a right elbow/bicep injury; defensive end Mike Catapano returns from an illness and concussion; defensive back Sanders Commings returns from a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain; running back Cyrus Gray returns from a torn ACL; and linebacker Dezman Moses returns from an elbow injury.
While each player got in practice repetitions Tuesday, Johnson looked especially spry and it would have been hard to say he missed significant playing time in 2014 from observing him fly around the field.
Of note, Johnson said he practiced with no restrictions.
“I did better than I thought I was going to do today as far as mentally,” he said, “but physically I’ve been ready for last couple of months.”
Johnson’s performance on the practice field also caused enthusiasm for running back Jamaal Charles, who trained with Johnson during the offseason.
“He is itching to get back out on the field, so I’m just excited for him to be back out on the field,” Charles said. “I’ve been telling him he’s been looking good since I’ve been working out with him ever since March. He’s been dunking the ball, that’s surprising with an Achilles. So with him coming back, we’re going to need him this year for sure. We’re playing against a lot of good teams this year.”
New Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million free-agent deal in March, wrapped up his first OTA practice with a goal for the rest of the workouts.
And that is to build chemistry with quarterback Alex Smith.
“When you’re talking about me and him, I think that’s the No. 1 thing,” Maclin said. “What we’re looking forward to doing, I don’t think you can judge it by completed balls, I think it’s all about getting to know each other and getting our timing down. I think we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start doing that.”
The Chiefs brought aboard Maclin after watching the wide receiver position go a full season without recording a touchdown pass in 2015.
Maclin, of course, is familiar with the Chiefs offensive scheme from four seasons with Andy Reid in Philadelphia (2009-12), where he recorded 258 catches for 3,453 yards and 26 touchdowns during that span.
The Chiefs know what they’re getting with Maclin, and the wide receiver said he and Smith have “spent some time” together, and each has watched film on the other.
“We’ll continue to work at it,” Maclin said. “This is what it’s all about; right now it’s all about perfecting the timing.”
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: