Defensive end Bertrand Berry (92) returned to full workouts for the first time Monday.
Bertrand Berry is back on the field again.
The veteran defensive end/linebacker was wearing his helmet for the first time Monday since tearing his triceps midway through the 2007 season, officially beginning his on-field comeback from a previous season-ending injury for a third straight year.
"It felt good to be doing some things," Berry said. "It felt good to be part of the team again."
At first, Berry tried to say this season isn't any different than previous ones, because his aspirations remain the same. But he corrected himself, noting that this year is different "because this year I want to finish."
That's not the only reason this season is different for Berry, however. He took a much-publicized paycut in February, a move that lowered his salary from $4 million to $1 million and turned the money into incentives. It was a dramatic change as Berry enters the fifth year of the five-year contract he signed in 2004 and with free agency looming next offseason.
But Berry insisted the future isn't something he is pondering much, not beyond getting back on the field again Tuesday.
"You worry about each day, out here trying to make myself a better player," said Berry, who had 2½ sacks in nine games last season. "I can't get too concerned about what's going to happen next year."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Berry looked good, although "he looked like he hadn't been doing football in a while."
But, Whisenhunt noted, "he moved well."
Berry, who had been doing some of the individual drills during organized team activities, said he liked the idea of getting in some work before training camp.
"We will see what happens," Berry said. "I didn't have too much rust, thankfully."
THE ROTATION OF QBS
Sometimes, Kurt Warner is going to get reps with the first-team offense, Whisenhunt said Monday, a plan Whisenhunt called "a natural part of practice" and something the Cardinals did last offseason – when Matt Leinart was also the starting quarterback – as well.
For Whisenhunt, nothing has changed with his thoughts on the position.
"Matt is the starter and Kurt is going to be there pushing him," Whisenhunt said. "It's going to be a tough job for Matt to keep because Kurt played at a high level last year and he's been doing a lot of work in the offseason and he's looked sharp in these drills."
Warner continued to say what he always had said, that he believes he has a chance to win the starting job if he outplays Leinart.
"That's basically what has been shared with me, that the best player is going to play," Warner said. "I can only go by what I have heard and what I have been told."
Whisenhunt said Leinart seems more confident, however. Leinart downplayed the idea of swapping reps with Warner – "I am not worried about who is getting reps when and where (because) if you let that bother you, you are going to hurt yourself," he said – but did acknowledge he must find patience waiting for the season to start.
"Some part of me is, 'I want to play tomorrow and get out there and throw four touchdowns' and feel good, but this is a process," Leinart said. "We have summer still, and then training camp and then preseason and then the season. There is a long way to go."
For the first Monday of OTAs – the first two weeks of work were only Tuesday-through-Thursday – a handful of players were absent, although Whisenhunt said most would be returning to the voluntary workouts by Tuesday. Running back Edgerrin James, linebacker Karlos Dansby, veteran defensive lineman Bryan Robinson and safety Matt Ware were among Monday's missing.
"They all communicated they weren't going to be here even though they didn't have to," Whisenhunt said, "and I think that's a great sign."
Whisenhunt did add he had not heard from receiver Anquan Boldin or defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, both of whom continue to be gone and are not expected back for voluntary work. Both are seeking new contracts. …
Whisenhunt praised the team for their "spirited" work Monday. "Coming off a weekend … we had a lot of energy out there, a lot of chirping going on, and that's good," Whisenhunt said.
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 6/2/08.