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Chiefs sort through younger safeties in Eric Berry's absence

Marcus Cooper is one of the safeties getting a longer look this week with Eric Berry out. Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs appear destined to finish their offseason work without safety Eric Berry. Their franchise player, still unsigned, was a no-show on Tuesday for the start of a three-day minicamp that was mandatory for all of his teammates but not Berry.

He doesn't have a signed contract, so he wasn't obligated to attend.

Berry has been physically absent, but his presence is still very much felt by the other safeties.

"He's been our leader and he set a standard for practice and our meeting rooms," said Daniel Sorensen, who replaced Berry as one of the starting safeties in their base defense. "That's something we carry on. We talk about a culture and he's somebody that you can look to who establishes a culture in the secondary. In that aspect, he's very present. ..."

Ron Parker is one starting safety and Berry will be the other when he signs. The Chiefs use as many as five different safeties, including Sorensen, in their various defensive alignments and they continue to get a look at a lot of different players in Berry's absence.

Among those getting work at safety are veterans Stevie Brown, Marcus Cooper and Jamell Fleming. Brown is in his first season with the Chiefs. Cooper and Fleming are making the transition to safety from cornerback, though Cooper is also getting work at his previous position.

Another safety getting some snaps is rookie Eric Murray, a fourth-round draft pick who was a cornerback in college at Minnesota.

So the Chiefs have plenty to sort through at safety.

"We've got a lot of young players and bringing them along is probably the biggest thing we accomplished," Sorensen said. "Top to bottom, we've got a lot of youth in there. We lost some key veterans from last year that had a lot of experience. It's now (a matter of) catching the young guys up to the level we played at last year, which was a very high level. That's the standard."