By UPI |

Kansas City Chiefs release Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry

March 13 (UPI) -- The Kansas City Chiefs released standout safety Eric Berry at the start of the NFL's new league year Wednesday, the team announced.

The move comes after the franchise and former Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu agreed on a three-year, $42 million contract Monday.

"I'd like to thank Eric for his contributions to our team and the Kansas City community over the last nine years," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "Seeing his passion and watching his love for the game has been truly remarkable. He's a special person, and we wish him the best as his career moves forward."

"We continually evaluate every aspect of our football team and we came to the decision that it was in our best interest to release Eric," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "Knowing what Eric has meant to this organization and this city made this an incredibly difficult decision. We wish him nothing but the best."

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Nine seasons. 440 tackles. 14 interceptions. Thank you, EB. pic.twitter.com/LHmlJbq1Pk

— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) March 13, 2019

The Chiefs selected Berry in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Tennessee and he quickly established himself as one of the league's premier safeties. He made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

In Berry's next season, a trend of health-related problems started for the All-Pro safety. He suffered a torn ACL in the team's opener and missed the entire year. It was the first of four seasons in which he missed almost an entire campaign.

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A lymphoma diagnosis cut Berry's 2014 season short, but he returned before the start of the 2015 season. He worked out during the off-season while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Berry sustained a torn Achilles tendon in 2017 after one game. He played in only three contests in 2018 due to an ailing heel. He has participated in only three of the Chiefs' last 34 contests, including the postseason.

In his nine-year NFL career, Berry has played in 89 games (87 starts). He has 440 total tackles, 14 interceptions (five returned for touchdowns), 51 passes defensed, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

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Berry is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and been voted first-team All-Pro three times.