INDIANAPOLIS, In. (CBS) – Eric Berry is ready for a return to the NFL and one team has reportedly already emerged as the front-runner for his services. Per Jim Trotter of the NFL Network, the Indianapolis Colts are the early favorite to land Berry, as he is close friends with edge rusher Justin Houston, whom Berry was teammates with during their time in Kansas City.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported in January Berry had offers to return in 2019, but the former All-Pro safety wanted to take the time off to physically and mentally get himself in better shape to have a more impactful career going forward. Berry has been hampered by an Achilles injury that has resulted in him playing just five games since the start of the 2017 season, which led to his release in March of last year.
A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro, Berry has 445 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 14 interceptions in nine seasons. Arguably the best safety in the NFL for half a decade, Berry had 77 tackles and four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) in 2016, which he accomplished his last All-Pro selection.
Just two years prior, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was placed on the non-football injury list. He was declared cancer-free about nine months later and was able to play in all 16 regular-season games in 2015, which earned him NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
The Colts may be the early favorite for Berry, but the veteran safety is expected to have plenty of other suitors for his services after using the 2019 season to rest and heal up. Berry has overcome the odds on plenty of occasions in his NFL career to find his way back to the game’s elite. Taking a risk on Berry may be a smart play for whatever team signs him.