Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 9/13/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Eric Berry never saw the hit coming until it was too late. The Chiefs' Pro Bowl safety was ranging to his right, trying to defend the goal line in last season's opener, when Steve Johnson lined him up in his sights. The Bills wide receiver swooped in with his shoulder first and cut Berry down at the knees with a devastating block. It was perfectly legal, but that didn't matter much to Berry as he was lying on the turf at Arrowhead Stadium. Berry tried to keep playing, but it was all in vain: He had torn the ACL in his left knee, effectively ending his season. Berry tweeted in the offseason that he wondered whether Johnson intended to hurt him, in truth a natural question amid the controversy of the Saints' bounty scandal. He's backpedaled since, saying the tweet was in jest, and he's sidestepped the media all week. But in a statement made in April, Berry indicated that it still weighed on his mind: "You can look at the tape and make your own opinion about that." Johnson has always denied that he was trying to take out Berry's knee, more than once trying to apologize for the hit. The former seventh-round draft pick said again this week, with the Chiefs scheduled to visit Buffalo on Sunday, that he was merely making an important block early in the game. It was nothing more than that, Johnson insisted. "However he feels is however he feels," Johnson said. "I already said it before that I've never been a dirty player. I never try to take somebody out. I know the work put in to get where he is and where I am. I've said it before, but it's enough already." Johnson isn't dishing rhetoric, either. He was a relatively unheralded wide receiver when he was coming out of Kentucky, a program hardly known as a football factory. But through sheer grit and determination, he's emerged as one of Buffalo's biggest weapons, coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He'll be even more invaluable now that the Bills are playing without injured running back Fred Jackson and wide receiver David Nelson for now. "I came from the bottom, you know what I'm saying? I know the grind and the struggle to get where I am now," Johnson said. "Everything that's been said and everything that happened, it happened. It's over with." Berry's path to stardom was much more direct. He was the fifth overall pick of the Chiefs out of Tennessee, and started every game his rookie season. He made 87 tackles, picked off four passes and even returned one for a touchdown, putting together the kind of year that made his first Pro Bowl trip a certainty. So when he was lost for the season in Week 1 last season, it was little wonder that the Chiefs defense was ripped apart by Buffalo (41-7) and Detroit (48-3) the first two weeks of the year. "It's another game. That was last year," said Kansas City safety Kendrick Lewis, who is expected to miss his second straight game Sunday with a right shoulder injury. "Eric's with us now, he's healthy, and we need to attack this game." Both teams are feeling a sense of urgency after Week 1 defeats. The Chiefs were spanked 40-24 by Atlanta, a performance not altogether different from the way they played against Buffalo last year. The Bills lost 48-28 to the New York Jets last Sunday. "We have a completely different team than what we had last year," Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. "Last year was last year, and they did a great job coming in here, but their team is different and we're different and now it's about going out and competing this year." New teams? Sure. New year? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean there's going to be hugs and handshakes when the Chiefs and Bills take the field on Sunday, particularly when Berry sees Johnson for the first time. "Last year is last year, and this year is this year," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said. "We need to focus on this year and trying to be better and win the game."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doc Rivers blames ‘bloggers’ for Blake Griffin trade rumors

Jason Peters: Eagles practiced too much under Chip Kelly

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker