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Berry's absence

The Cardinals are downstairs right now, finishing some weightlifting. There is a meeting in a bit; I think coach Ken Whisenhunt is going to follow his usual plan letting the players out of their final OTA. Yesterday's workout seemed pretty intense and a bit longer than usual, which would fit for a wrap-up for the summer. As I noted last year, it's unusual for a Cardinal to skip every single one of the voluntary OTAs. It just isn't done. Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett, angry about their contracts, will have done it for two straight years. I'll be surprised if they don't show to training camp on time; again, if they want more money, it makes no sense to hold out of camp. That only costs you money.

Bertrand Berry will be there too, after he was the surprising third guy to skip all the OTAs. Whisenhunt said he was "disappointed" with Berry's decision. It is surprising. I had heard the rumblings about Berry being upset with his contract but I also heard he simply wanted to work out on his own. Unfortunately, given the climate of all the voluntary work across the league, guys don't blow off an entire month of OTAs unless there is a serious reason. There are no personal issues going on with Berry, so that usually means something contract-related.

It's been a tough stretch for Berry. He had those three straight years of season-ending injuries, and then, trying to get back last year to form, he was first asked to take a serious pay cut (which he accepted). He did lead the Cards in sacks (with five) while trying to play a little rush linebacker when the Cards used a 3-4. Then came free agency, but teams just aren't banging the door down for a pass rusher who will turn 34 in training camp. Berry comes back to a team that wants to use more of a 3-4 alignment, and ultimately, Berry isn't a natural fit for linebacker. Before minicamp, new defensive coordinator Bill Davis said the starting linebackers were going to be Chike Okeafor and Clark Haggans, meaning Berry was going to be a situational guy (at least to start), and maybe that doesn't sit well either.

The day after the season, Berry was asked about free agency and possible retirement and you could just see it in Bertrand's face and hear it in his words – he wanted no part of leaving the game. This is got to be a difficult time for him; he is likely making less money than he believes he deserves (for a second straight season) and the Cards drafted two guys that could replace him in Cody Brown and Will Davis. Of the many intriguing storylines of training camp, Berry's will certainly be one.

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