Berry back to practicing with Chiefs

FILE - In this July 28, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry participates in a drill during NFL football training camp in St. Joseph, Mo. Berry was back on the Chiefs’ practice field Wednesday, Nov. 28,2 018, for the first time since early in training camp, though it remains unclear when the star safety will be ready for games. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

(WIBW) - It looks like the one player at the top of most Chiefs fans' Christmas lists is getting closer to returning.

Star safety Eric Berry practiced with Kansas City on Wednesday for the first time since August. Berry was a limited participant, as he's been dealing with a heel injury.

"It's good to see him getting back healthy," head coach Andy Reid said. "This is killing him to watch. He loves to play and so it tears him up not to be out there."

When the three-time All-Pro will be back in a game is still not known. Reid said the Chiefs will take it easy with Berry and listen to him on how he's feeling, something the head coach is confident in his nine-year veteran being clear about.

"I don't worry about him in any of this," Reid said. "He's been around this a long time. He's come back off injury, he's come back from a life-threatening disease. And he's honest.

"One thing that's taken place through this whole thing is great communication and honesty. I don't care if it's this week, next week, the following week. It doesn't matter, just when he feels right."

His teammates sound like they're feeling better with Berry back on the practice field. The Chiefs, who sit atop the AFC at 9-2 and travel to Oakland on Sunday, are valuing the return of his infectious intangibles and energy.

"You can just feel it every single day," quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "He's going to come in and bring that spirit and leadership role, and just come out there and play his tail off. I'm excited to have him on that defense."

"He just brings that energy, that charisma that you can't teach," offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz said. "You can't force that. It's either a guy has got it or he doesn't, and he's one of those guys that has it."

He also has a whole lot of talent. Whenever he returns to game action, the five-time Pro Bowler and 2015 Comeback Player of the Year would bring an impactful, veteran presence to a Kansas City defense that ranks in the bottom five of the NFL in total and scoring defense.

"I can only imagine what he brings on the field," rookie linebacker Dorian O'Daniel said. "So being able to be a rookie and take his knowledge and wisdom off the field, I'm excited to see it translate on the field."

Berry wasn't the only meaningful Chief back participating in practice. Offensive lineman Mitch Morse returned as well as a full participant. Morse has been dealing with a concussion. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who's had a rib injury, was also a full participant.