Eric Berry’s rookie season may be over, but with the lockout rolling on, there’s no telling when he’ll get a chance to kick off his sophomore campaign. While doing the rounds to talk about a new shoe, Berry reflected about winning the Mack Lee Hill award recognizing the Chiefs Rookie of the Year Award.
“That was definitely a great honor; I thanked my teammates for voting for me. I felt that I made an impact last year, and that’s what I wanted to do — come in and help the team. I was very proud of that. The season was a good experience as a whole; just going out there and seeing how well we jelled together. A lot of people on the team were saying that they hadn’t seen people on a team this close in a long time. And a lot of the veterans … there wasn’t any of that hazing stuff that you hear about. When we came in, the veteran just took us under their wings and just showed us the ropes. I think a lot of the credit goes to them for helping me go through the rookie season the way I did.”
There was a much different feel to this year’s rookie class than anything I can remember in Kansas City and Berry was the driving force behind that. He can thank the veterans — as he should — but it was Berry getting to camp (almost) on time and stepping into the starting lineup from the jump that helped set the tone for what ended up being one of the most impressive draft classes in the league.
Berry stepping up to lead the Kansas City defense — especially after struggling early — had to help fellow rookies Dexter McCluster, Javier Arenas, Kendrick Lewis,Tony Moeaki and even a late riser like Verran Tucker feel comfortable even without any experience in the league.