The Impact of Bertrand Berry's Retirement

After 12 years in the league, Bertrand Berry called it quits this week. The former Cardinal played some of his best football in red, was a locker room and fan favorite and could always be counted on when the chips were down. His retirement sheds light on a now, iffy defensive front seven.

The fans, the coaches and the Cardinals will miss 12-year defensive end Bertrand Berry who announced his retirement on Thursday. The pass-rusher out of Notre Dame began his career at Humble HS in Texas and humble is where he'll finish it.

Berry expressed his sadness that his ride is over but is ready for a new beginning. Berry arrived in the desert in 2004 by way of the Denver Broncos, where he spent three years. Berry was originally drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and started 14 games in his three years in horseshoes.

Berry posted his best year to-date his first year in red (39 tackles, 14.5 sacks and four pass defensed). But Berry's biggest impact came in the growing years of the Cardinals.

Enter Coach Ken Whisenhunt in 2007 and a whole new era for Arizona. Berry provided optimism and veteran leadership when the Cardinals had more question marks than answers. Following Berry's 2007 campaign, he took a $3 million pay cut to stay with Arizona, a team he believed was on the brink of something special. He was right.

Bertrand Berry

Berry hung on another year, taking a $1 million paycheck in 2009. Over the course of his final two- will he stay or will he go years- Berry compiled 11 regular-season sacks and four postseason sacks, when they counted the most.

Regardless of Berry's accomplishments, the Cardinals knew they needed to add youth to the defensive line. They drafted the beast-of-a man Calais Campbell who enjoyed a prosperous second year. The following draft, the Cardinals nabbed defensive end Cody Brown and Will Davis who were suppose to vie for Berry's role.

A wrist injury cost Brown his rookie season. Davis was also sidelined due to a knee injury that needed surgery. Whisenhunt said it was disappointing because Davis "was really starting to pick up his game."

Arizona can't afford too much of a learning curve with either Brown nor Davis because the Cardinals could lose Karlos Dansby and Chike Okeafor to free agency. Although the price should be right for Arizona to retain Okeafor, the same doesn't ring true for Dansby.

With the draft just a few months away, Arizona will likely start scouting more players with pass-rushing ability. Although, there are also areas that need plenty of attention (see offensive line, quarterback and tight end). The playoffs also exhibited Arizona's lack of secondary depth and its weaknesses.

Caution: Road work ahead.

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