Eric Berry has shown plenty of fight for Chiefs
NFL training camp preview: The AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry has had to be a fighter. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma on Dec. 8, 2014, Berry fought to get well and return to the field.
After undergoing chemotherapy, Berry was declared clear of cancer in July 2015. He rejoined the Chiefs for the 2015 season, was elected to the Pro Bowl and helped the team earn a wild-card berth.
Last season, while continuing to display incredible courage, Berry played a huge role in Kansas City tying for the AFC’s second-best mark.
Berry was selected the 2015 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection.
We look at the AFC West heading into training camp, in order of predicted finish this season.
Training camp location: Napa, California
Report dates: Rookies, July 24; veterans, July 28
Look out for this guy: Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been consistently good. The Oakland Raiders drafted Cooper to be a true No. 1 wideout; that box is checked. This season, Cooper appears ready to take his game to an even higher level. Cooper and quarterback Derek Carr are in sync. That’s bad news for the rest of the division.
Camp watch: Raiders rookies and newcomers had better be prepared to keep pace with defensive end Khalil Mack. The 2016 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year sets the tone on the field and in the locker room. Mack is an elite talent as well as a true leader. We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: What were the Buffalo Bills thinking when they traded up to draft Sammy Watkins instead of the former State University of New York at Buffalo standout in the 2014 draft?
Training camp location: Englewood, Colorado
Report dates: Rookies, July 23; veterans, July 26
Look out for this guy: Vance Joseph is the first black head coach in Denver Broncos history. He takes control of a team that won the 2015 Super Bowl and has big expectations. Joseph, who formerly led the Miami Dolphins’ defense, knows how to connect with players. This looks like a really good fit.
Camp watch: Joseph’s relationship with outside linebacker Von Miller will be important for the Broncos. Miller is the team’s cornerstone player. He’s coming off another sensational season and could be the most important ally for Joseph in the locker room.
Kansas City Chiefs
Training camp location: St. Joseph, Missouri
Report dates: Rookies, July 24; veterans, July 27
Look out for this guy: Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes is in a great position. He’s expected to sit behind veteran starter Alex Smith, getting time to refine his skills while working with head coach Andy Reid, who is considered one of best in the game at tutoring quarterbacks. Reid sees a lot of potential in Mahomes.
Camp watch: Unlike Mahomes, rookie running back Kareem Hunt may be called on early. The Chiefs’ new-look backfield won’t include four-time Pro Bowler Jamaal Charles, who was released and signed with the Broncos. There’s definitely an opening for the versatile Hunt.
Los Angeles Chargers
Training camp location: Costa Mesa, California
Report dates: Rookies and veterans, July 29
Look out for this guy: Anthony Lynn is the first African-American head coach in team history. Formerly with the Buffalo Bills, Lynn takes over the Los Angeles Chargers during a time of transition: The franchise will be in its first season back in Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego. Lynn has proved himself as a running backs coach and an offensive coordinator. He finally got a chance to take the next step.
Camp watch: Running an efficient training camp can be challenging for experienced head coaches. Directing his first camp, Lynn will face additional hurdles as the Chargers attempt to get settled in Los Angeles.