Serving as appetizer to the main course, Charles was presented with the Chiefs Derrick Thomas MVP Award while Berry took home Mack Lee Hill Rookie of the Year honors. Kevin Ross was also officially introduced as the Chiefs 2011 Hall of Fame inductee.
“It was an incredible season we had,” Charles said at the awards banquet. “Without my teammates I wouldn’t have had the goals that we set out to accomplish. I’ve been blessed this off-season with all of the honors that I’ve been getting.
“The AFC Offensive Player of the Year Award is a goal for next year. Life has been great right now and I’m going to continue to work hard, because hard work pays off. I play this game to win a Super Bowl ring. I don’t want to just be an average player, I want to be great. I don’t want to be a superstar, I want to be a Hall of Famer.”
Both Charles and Berry are coming of their first Pro Bowl seasons and neither wants to take a step back in 2011. While CBA talks continue, each is working out on their own, away from the Chiefs practice facility.
Charles has chosen to train in Austin, Texas alongside ex-Longhorn teammates Brian Orakpo, Tarell Brown, Roddrick Muckelroy, Tim Crowder and Justin Blaylock.
“These are big-name guys who have already had a level of success in the NFL,” Charles said. “You’re around people that you’ve been around since you were 17 and 18 years old. It makes you feel comfortable in working hard. You grinded with them through college to get where you are now and it feels great.
“All I can do is keep being me and keep working hard. The hard work is going to pay off.”
Berry has opted to spend the beginning of his off-season back home in Atlanta, Georgia, where he works out and is catching up on missed family time.
“I’m going to a lot of my brothers’ games because I really don’t get to see them that much,” Berry said. “They are playing baseball and running track, so I get to catch up with that. It’s been a whirlwind these past two years and it’s really good to see everybody and talk with them.”
When it comes to training for the 2011 NFL season, Berry will treat Florida as his second home if he is unable to return to Kansas City.
“I was going to go down to Florida and train with Tony Valente, the same guy I trained with for the NFL Combine,” Berry said. “He’s thinking about having some type of OTA with different players. It would be the same structure that we would have with our team, going through 7-on-7 and things like that. There will be enough guys down there for us to handle any situation.”
This is currently the time of year where players have time to themselves. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is a firm believer in players taking advantage of extra personal time in the months following a grinding NFL season.
“I’m a big believer, and was taught this way by Bill Parcells, that players need an off-season,” Haley said. “They need some time away to get their full dedication when the time comes.
“Our off-season program would start here at the end of March and I try to make it strictly about getting stronger, healthier and building endurance. I probably do a lot less football than people in most places I’ve been and it paid off this year.”
Players are free to take their own approach to training prior to returning to Kansas City. Some have chosen to stay in town and train at local health clubs, while others are taking a route similar to Charles’ and Berry’s.
“They work out and do the things that they want to do,” Haley said. “They are expected to come in ready to go for the off-season, physically, and that’s really the only thing I care about.”