KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs safety Eric Berry signed his franchise tender and reported to camp Sunday, though he is almost certain to miss Kansas City's preseason finale against Green Bay this week.
Berry was given the franchise tag early in the offseason but had not signed the deal, which means he could skip all of training camp without being fined. The deal will pay him just over $10.8 million this season, making him the league's highest-paid safety.
Kansas City plays its first regular-season game Sept. 11 against San Diego.
Berry played in every game last season, less than a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. He made 55 tackles, a pair of interceptions and resumed his role as the heart and soul of the defense.
''I said, `You don't count the fish till it's in the boat.' So, fish is in the boat, right?'' coach Andy Reid said. ''He's here. It's good to have him back. He's got a smile on his face, and he's ready to go. That's the important thing that we get him back in, and get him going and get him into football shape now. He's in great shape, but just get him into football shape.''
Berry probably won't play in Thursday's preseason finale.
''We'll likely just give him time within practice to get himself ready for the opener,'' Reid said.
The Chiefs had hoped to sign Berry to a long-term deal in the offseason, but the two sides were never close to reaching an agreement by the July 15 deadline. The Chiefs remain optimistic they can sign him after this season, though Berry will demand a premium on the free-agent market.
It was somewhat surprising that the sides were so far apart, given the goodwill between them.
The Chiefs stood by Berry when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, and general manager John Dorsey and others in the front office regularly visited him in Atlanta during treatment. Meanwhile, Berry has been steadfast in his love for the Chiefs, who made him a first-round pick out of Tennessee.
Berry played in every game last season, less than a year after his cancer diagnosis. He made 55 tackles, had a pair of interceptions and resumed his role as the heart and soul of the defense.
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