KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs list safety Eric Berry as questionable for the third-straight game on Wednesday, but the attitude toward his playing against the Chargers on Thursday night seems immeasurably different than past weeks.
Case in point — the Chiefs released a sizzle reel on social media Wednesday prominently featuring Berry and his pregame motivational speeches, finishing with a shot of Berry running out of the tunnel onto the field.
Perhaps another clue — the Chiefs later on Wednesday announced they were red jerseys with red pants. That's a look they don't wear often, but they did wear that same uniform look for Berry's first game at Arrowhead Stadium following his return from cancer treatment.
That followed head coach Andy Reid on Monday saying “there's a chance” Berry plays Thursday night.
“We'll just see how it goes here these next couple days,” Reid said. “I'm literally going to keep taking this day by day. We will just see how the thing goes.”
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton also seemed to open the door on Tuesday. He mentioned that the coaching staff along with head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder's staff would keep tabs on Berry when he returns to manage his workload.
“We'll keep him and Rick's going to keep him (in the conversation),” Sutton said. “If he plays all the time, how much, I don't know what he's going to do yet. Just wait and see.”
Berry practiced in a limited role with the club the last three weeks since the bye week. Before that, his last practice came during training camp on Aug. 11. Berry suffered his season-ending Achilles rupture in the waning moments of last season's opener. That means his last full game came in the Jan. 15, 2017 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs opponent on Thursday night has its own experience with veteran sat recently returning to action. Defensive end Joey Bosa injured his foot Aug. 7 and sat out the team's first nine games of the season. He returned on a part-time basis, playing 31 and 33 snaps in his first two games back before the Chargers returned him a more full-time role the last two games.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said players need time working back in after an extended layoff.
“The first couple of weeks we kind of monitored his play count and last week we just turned him loose and now he's back at this normal rotation” Lynn said. “But I just believe he's getting better every game. It can't do nothing but help our defense and our football team.”
Sutton previously suggested Berry may return on a snap count in a limited role as well. He said both coaches and the training staff would work with better during the game in determining his playing time, but ultimately he concedes Berry himself will have a big voice in the conversation.
“A lot of times guys that have missed a lot of time, they don't want to come back out,” Sutton said. “They've been waiting all this time to get in, but you've got to be smart and he's got to be smart with it, which I think he would be. We'll just have to see how it goes.”
Reid said Monday he knows Berry wants to play in this game.
“It's nothing effort-wise or want to, that's the last thing that ever crosses your mind with this guy,” Reid said. “It's killing him – trust me, it's killing him – not to be out there, but at the same time we want to be smart with it.”