Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry, who arrived in Arizona as a free agent with a Pro Bowl splash in 2004, announced his retirement Thursday night after 12 years in the NFL.
The 34-year-old Berry delivered the news on the season’s final installment of the “Big Red Rage,” the weekly radio show he co-hosts.
Berry walks away with 65 sacks in his career, including the 14½ he posted during his first year with the Cardinals. Berry finished third on the Cardinals in sacks this season, his six one behind co-leaders
Originally drafted by the Colts out of Notre Dame in 1997, Berry’s career was derailed when he signed with the Rams in 2000 but was cut during the preseason. After a brief attempt in the Canadian Football League, Berry rededicated himself to getting back to the NFL, worried he may have already played his last down in the NFL.
He shouldn’t have been concerned.
Berry signed with Denver in 2001, and became a feared pass rusher, notching a then-career-best 11½ for the Broncos in 2003. That led to his free-agent contract with the Cards, a five-year, $25 million deal which immediately paid off when Berry had the third-most sacks in franchise history, trailing only the 16½ Simeon Rice made in 1999 and the 16 Curtis Greer had in 1983.
“That’s one of my biggest fears, that people will perceive me as not being worth the money at the end of the day,” Berry said in training camp before the 2004 season. “I work hard every day to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Season-ending injuries struck Berry in each of the next three seasons, allowing him to play in only 27 of 48 games, notching 14½ sacks total. He restructured his contract to remain in Arizona in 2008, becoming a situational pass rusher on the Cards’ drive to the Super Bowl, and re-signed on a one-year contract to return in 2009.