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Chiefs ramping up contract talks with Eric Berry

The best Kansas City Chiefs team in a decade faces an uncertain future with so many defensive stars in need of new contracts.

Safety Eric Berry, cornerback Sean Smith, linebacker Derrick Johnson, edge rusher Tamba Hali and defensive tackle Jaye Howard are scheduled to reach free agency in March.

Toward that end, the Chiefs are ramping up talks on a new contract for Berry, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

There wasn't a better story in the league last season than Berry's successful return from Hodgkin's lymphoma. The 27-year-old strong safety earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection, regaining pre-injury form on a defense that ranked at or near the top in several categories over the second half of the 2015 season.

"Oh man, it was terrifying at first," Berry told NFL Media's Alex Flanagan on Thursday's edition of Super Bowl Live. "Just hearing 'You have cancer' -- it was tough. But I had a great support system."

Berry never considered that notion that his football career might be over.

"That wasn't even my focus," Berry explained. "My focus at first was just getting healthy and getting back to E.B., being able to have a normal day. Then I just started seeing progress. And I was like, 'Man, I'm going to get back on the field.'"

If Berry beats out Carson Palmer for Comeback Player of the Year at Saturday night's NFL Honors awards show, he will become just the fourth defensive star to do so -- joining Lyle Alzado (1982), Bryant Young (1999) and Joe Johnson (2000).

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