Chiefs GM 'confident' Berry will be back by Week 1

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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We're two weeks into the 2016 preseason, and there's still no sign of Eric Berry at Chiefs camp.

The Kansas City safety has not reported to training camp since he and the team failed to reach an agreement ahead of the deadline to sign franchise tagged players. Berry, who earned Comeback Player of the Year in 2015 after beating Hodgkin's lymphoma and leading the Chiefs to the playoffs, will have to play under the $10.8 million franchise tag for one season if and when he returns to the team.

Though the face of his franchise and the league's symbol of heroism is M.I.A., Chiefs general manager John Dorsey isn't fretting a lengthy standoff. In fact, he's confident his star safety will return by the time Kansas City kicks off against the Chargers on Sept. 11.

"(Berry's) agent has said ... at some juncture during this course he will show up here," Dorsey said Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Adam Teich. "I haven't talked to Eric one-on-one about when he's going to show up.

"Knowing what a prideful professional he is, I think he will show up at the appropriate time."

Dorsey also predicted the returns of running back Jamaal Charles and pass rusher Tamba Hali, both of whom he says will practice within the next two weeks and join Berry in the season opener.

Berry has legitimate gripes with Dorsey and the front office. It doesn't help in the optics department that, in recent weeks, the franchise has doled out a six-year, $63 million contract extension with $40 million guaranteed to an Eric not named Berry -- offensive tackle Eric Fisher -- and signed Berry's temporary replacement in veteran safety Jeron Johnson.

For what it's worth, Berry has not explicitly detailed his plans to hold out, and he was expected to return to the team eventually, regardless of how his general manager felt.

All Berry can do now is send a strong message to the front office from outside the building that his presence will be sorely missed in 2017 if the Chiefs don't pay up.

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