I’m not going to lie. Professionally, it stunk those three straight years when Bertrand Berry suffered season-ending injuries. Don’t worry, I’m sure it was much harder on Berry, but as a guy who has to get player comments for a living, losing a veteran who was well spoken and who could give you something on almost any trend story or subject around the team is never good.
That’s one of the things I’ll remember most about Berry, who announced his retirement Thursday night. I’ll always remember how, after he made the Pro Bowl in 2004, he told us in a post-practice press conference he preferred to be called “Bertrand” instead of “Bert” — and then always wonder why so many coaches and teammates called him “Bert.” I’ll remember his dominant 2004 performance where he had 14.5 sacks despite not having anyone else to really draw the offense’s blocking attention. I’ll remember him sacking Giants quarterback Kurt Warner four times in a game that year, the game that drove Warner from the starting lineup in New York (and a game neither one really wanted to talk about after they became teammates).
I’ll remember his emotion after the Cards’ playoff run and Super Bowl appearance a year ago. This was a guy who signed as a free agent when Dennis Green arrived, certain Green was the one to lead the Cards’ renaissance. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and the frustration built for Berry over a few seasons, between the losses and the injuries that cost him half a season in 2005, 2006 and 2007. There was also some frustration with his contract the last couple years, as he ended up having to play for a lower salary than he had when he first showed up.
But Berry noted tonight he thought he “played the game the right way” and he’s right. There were times he could have popped off when he was upset and he never did. He tried to play his role and was a big part of the Cards’ turnaround — which is exactly what he always wanted.
Nothing is set yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Berry hang around. He’s had a thing for broadcasting — hosting the “Big Red Rage” radio show for years and attending the NFL’s broadcast boot camp a couple years ago — and maybe something can be worked out with the Cards in such a capacity. Berry did say he was looking for new challenges. That would qualify (and the Cards did just lose Rob Moore to Syracuse ….)
Including playoffs, Berry led the Cardinals with eight sacks this season. In the end, I’ll remember Bertrand’s ability to still have his shining moments on a football field, delivering his trademark whistle pull — he was the B-Train, after all — following every sack. I’ll remember Bertrand Berry going out on his own terms.
Tags: Bertrand Berry
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The Cardinals signed five more players to “future” contracts (which just means they don’t officially kick in until the end of the season), including tight end Dominique Byrd — who actually was on the roster this season, inactive for the first 10 games before being released Nov. 24. The Cards are also bringing back fullback Reagan Maui’a, the “Juggernaut” (there’s a little language at the end of the video, FYI) who was with the team in the preseason, along with cornerback Trumaine McBride, safety Herana-Daze Jones and defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi.
McBride isn’t big (5-foot-9) but the former Bear did start nine games in 2007. Jones (whose first name is pronounced “Hernandez”) has played in 30 games since 2006 with the Bengals, Broncos, Patriots and Saints. Muhtadi was an undrafted rookie at Green Bay’s camp this past season.
It’s intriguing that the Cards still want to look at Byrd. He definitely has receiving skills although his blocking isn’t where the Cards would like it. The team will need another tight end going into the offseason, but the future is up in the air for Anthony Becht. Becht is not only a free agent, but it’s possible he’s looking at retiring after a decade in the NFL. Byrd already had shown enough to the Cards for them to keep him half a season.
Tags: Dean Muhtadi, Dominique Byrd, Herana-Daze Jones, Reagan Maui'a, Trumaine McBride
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Right now, the Cards are knee-deep in offseason meetings, meaning I haven’t had a chance to talk to general manager Rod Graves for a story. That will be coming. In the meantime, I have collected all the contract situations (at least, organizing what year each player is signed through, or their free agent status) in a file you can find right here. It doesn’t cover every single player on the roster but it has everyone I considered a contributor this season or someone who needed to be addressed.
Officially the Cards have 14 unrestricted free agents and 10 restricted (the numbers would have been 17 and 7, but Gabe Watson, Deuce Lutui and Jerheme Urban all are going to be hamstrung by the new rules when the NFL deals with an uncapped offseason). On offense, the Cards seem to be in good shape. Starters Dan Kreider (FB), Anthony Becht (TE), Sean Morey (special teams) and Mike Gandy (T) — along with Jeremy Bridges (G/T) are unrestricted. Bigger questions are on defense, where Karlos Dansby (LB) and Matt Ware (S) could walk away, and the Cards are in transition with veteran UFAs like Bryan Robinson, Chike Okeafor, Bertrand Berry, Ralph Brown and Monty Beisel.
Tags: Anthony Becht, Bertrand Berry, Bryan Robinson, Chike Okeafor, Dan Kreider, Deuce Lutui, free agency, Gabe Watson, Jeremy Bridges, Jerheme Urban, Karlos Dansby, Matt Ware, Mike Gandy, Monty Beisel, offseason, Ralph Brown, Roster, Sean Morey
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