NFL

NFL AM: Chiefs Pushing To Extend Eric Berry

on

Chiefs negotiating with Eric Berry:

While he may not have been the biggest story in football this season, there was no better story in the NFL this year than Eric Berry’s triumphant return from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Less than a year after finding out that he had cancer, Berry was back on the football field and playing like a guy whose health was never in question.

Berry wasn’t just a great story, but he was one of the catalysts behind the Kansas City Chiefs’ amazing turnaround as the team won 10 games in a row after starting the season 1-5 before falling to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.

On Wednesday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Chiefs are “ramping up” talks with their inspirational safety in attempt to sign the free agent to be to an extension. Getting Berry signed early would be huge for the team which has a lot of work to do this offseason.

The near virtual lock for Comeback Player of the Year is just one of the Chiefs impending free agents, as defensive end Tamba Hali, linebacker Derrick Johnson, and cornerback Sean Smith are all set to hit the open market.

Getting Berry signed now would allow them to move on to trying to work out contracts with their other free agents to be, and would keep the franchise tag available for one of those players as the team would likely use it on Berry if they had to.

The Chiefs have a lot of interesting decisions on their hands this offseason, but it’s clear that signing Berry is among their top priorities. He is among their top priorities for good reason too. He isn’t just an inspirational guy whose proven he can beat cancer; the sixth-year safety is one of the premiere defensive backs in football.

Antonio Smith to play in Super Bowl 50 after father’s death:

On Sunday, over 100 players will suit up for Super Bowl 50. Some of them for their first time, and some of them for their last. One of those players who could likely be seeing his final opportunities to play in the big game is Denver Broncos defensive end Antonio Smith.

The Broncos’ 34-year-old defensive end will take the field Sunday with a heavy heart after finding out his father passed away early Wednesday morning.

“It’s rough. I just found out this morning. It was my mom who called and told me. The call came in at about 6:30,” Smith told reporters outside of the team hotel Wednesday morning.

Smith’s father, Marty Williams, passed away after complications from a recent heart surgery. Williams had spent the past 20 years in prison in Lexington, Oklahoma after being convicted of first-degree murder in Oklahoma City in 1991. He was serving life in prison with no opportunity for parole.

While Smith was clearly upset about his father’s passing, it’s hard to try to understand the emotions of someone dealing with the loss of a parent who has spent the better part of their children’s lives in prison for an unthinkable crime.

While much of the focus this week has been on the fact that this will likely be Peyton Manning’s “last rodeo,” it could be the end of the line for a guy like Smith too who is clearly on the last leg of his career. Hopefully the veteran defensive end can find a way to enjoy the experience despite his untimely loss.

Brandon Marshall doesn’t want Colin Kaepernick:

The NFL offseason is a great time for rumors, and while the Broncos and Panthers are getting ready to play Super Bowl 50, the rest of the league has already moved into offseason mode, as evidenced by our lead story today, and Tuesday’s report that the Browns would move on from Johnny Manziel.

One of the juicier early offseason rumors has been that Colin Kaepernick wanted to get himself out of San Francisco because he wanted to join the New York Jets.

On Wednesday, Jets’ receiver Brandon Marshall joined ESPN’s First Take, and during the discussion where Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was being compared to Chicago Bears starter Jay Cutler, when Kaepernick’s name came up.

“I don’t want Kaepernick,” Marshall quickly jumped in.  “I think he’s good. My guy’s Fitz. It’s nothing against Kaepernick, but what I’m saying is that I have my quarterbacks and I’m good.”

While the Jets season ended in horrible fashion, Marshall really believes the team is heading in the right direction, and Fitzpatrick is ready to really take off.

“The second half of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career is going to be amazing,” Marshall said, “because he’s with his guy Chan Gailey and he really owns this offense. And that’s what you want out of the quarterback position.”

While Kaepernick wasn’t part of the equation when the comments were made, Marshall can take solace in the fact that head coach Todd Bowles has said he wants Fitzpatrick back as the team’s starting quarterback.

“Obviously, it’s a pretty high priority,” Bowles told ESPN.com. “He’s the quarterback. He had a great year for us. We want him back. If he comes back, he’ll be the starter.”

After having a career year with the Jets, it would be difficult to see Fitzpatrick choose anyone but the Jets in free agency. It’s unlikely that anyone blows the 33-year-old quarterback’s doors off with an offer, and New York is the one place where he’d be the unquestioned starter even if there were some hiccups.

In other words, time for a new plan Colin.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.