A devastating knee injury and off-field issues derailed Aaron Berry’s career, but he’s trying to get it back on track.
Perhaps his comeback will unfold with the Browns.
Berry, an unrestricted free agent and former New York Jets cornerback, visited the Browns on Monday, the New York Post reported. Berry played for new Browns coach Mike Pettine in 2012, when Pettine was in his fourth and final season as the defensive coordinator of the Jets.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Berry hasn’t played in an NFL game since his time with Pettine. Berry, 25, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last July during a training camp practice and missed the entire 2013 season as a result.
Before Berry suffered the season-ending injury, the Jets gave him a second chance, allowing him to appear in seven games in a reserve role. He was projected to become a starter for the Detroit Lions in 2012, but they cut him that summer in the wake of two arrests – one for allegedly pointing a gun at three people in a Harrisburg, Pa., parking lot and another for suspicion of DUI and related charges.
Berry began the 2012 season unemployed as he served a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. He signed a two-year contract with the Jets on Oct. 1, 2012.
In 2011, Berry had his best NFL season. He started three of the 11 games in which he appeared and compiled 31 tackles and 11 passes defensed. He positioned himself to earn a starting job before poor judgment off the field led to his dismissal from the Lions, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.
The Browns are in the market for help at cornerback and might be compelled to give Berry a low-risk deal because Pettine is familiar with him. But even if they do, it would be hard to imagine a player coming off a torn ACL who has only 19 regular-season games and four starts on his resume beating out Buster Skrine as the starter opposite Pro Bowler Joe Haden.
Skrine certainly has flaws, and the Browns could benefit from upgrading his spot and assigning him the nickel corner role. Berry, though, would have a long way to go to prove he could force such a move.