St. Joseph, Mo. Eric Berry didn’t even allow a question about last season to be asked before cutting off the inquiring mind. There was no way he was going to relive that nightmare.
The Kansas City Chiefs scuffled along to a 2-14 finish, matching the worst in a proud franchise’s history. Along the way, they endured a nasty fan revolt that included plenty of folks wearing paper bags to Arrowhead Stadium, and a grisly murder-suicide involving a teammate.
So, quite naturally, Berry would rather speak optimistically about a fresh start.
“We’ve got standards for ourselves, so we have a lot of stuff to prove,” the Pro Bowl safety said Thursday. “We’re not worried about outside opinions or factors or anything like that. We are just focused on coming in, jelling as a unit and just taking it from there.”
That all starts with the first full-squad workout of training camp today.
Berry was among the veteran players who were trickling into training camp on the campus of Missouri Western State University. They joined rookies, quarterbacks and a few selected veterans who were able to get a head start over the past few days.
“We’re excited about this year, as far as where we’re going and the direction we’re headed,” Berry said, before adding of last year: “I don’t really want to compare the two.”
In truth, the Chiefs had similarly high expectations last year after a strong finish to a tumultuous 2011 season. But they were blown out in their opener, struggled to score points behind a revolving door at quarterback, and then watched as the season spiraled out of control.
The new player under the harshest spotlight is undoubtedly Alex Smith, who was starting to flourish as the quarterback in San Francisco before getting hurt last season. He ultimately lost his job to Colin Kaepernick during the 49ers’ Super Bowl run and then became trade bait.