Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is progressing just fine from a knee injury, and he believes his former team at the University of Tennessee is doing just as well.
Only time will tell for both.
Berry, chosen by the Chiefs with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, is coming back from a season-ending knee injury sustained in the 2011 season opener against Buffalo.
Tennessee, meanwhile, is on the rebound from its second consecutive losing season under coach Derek Dooley.
Berry worked out with some of the Vols on Thursday — the day before he took part in the D1 Elite Defensive Skills Camp and the Eric Berry Iron Sharpens Iron Camp at Grace Christian Academy.
"I'm good," Berry said when asked about his knee Friday. "I actually had the privilege to go out (Thursday) and do one-on-ones with guys on the (UT) team. It was very, very competitive, very good."
Berry said he got all positive vibes while being around his former teammates at the UT campus.
"Right now, everything looks like it's progressing," Berry said. "Whenever we're progressing, I'm happy. As long as we're not moving backwards or just staying the same, then I'm cool, and I feel like we're progressing right now. I was in the (UT) complex (Thursday). It was nothing but positive energy. The guys seem very confident about this season. They've been working hard. I can tell, and I'm looking forward to the season."
Likewise, Berry is looking forward to his third NFL season.
Berry sustained a torn ACL in his left knee on a block by Buffalo wide receiver Steve Johnson early in the Bills' 41-7 victory over the Chiefs last Sept. 11 He had surgery Sept. 29.
Berry said he's "very close" to being 100 percent.
"Still a little timidness, but as far as just getting out there and running around, I feel very good," Berry said.
Berry doesn't expect to be at all timid when he gets back into the heat of NFL action.
"By the time I'm on the field, I'm going to be ready when it's time to go," Berry said. "But right now, I just want to make sure I get my feet back up under me and get used to cutting off of somebody else's movement."
Berry got a chance to do that Thursday while working out with the Vols, and he wasn't going up against slouches.
Berry spent time defending Vols receiver Justin Hunter, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the Vols' third game of the 2011 season against Florida.
"It was definitely good going against Justin Hunter," Berry said. "My opinion I believe he's NFL ready right now, but that's just my opinion. It's been very good just being out here working out with those guys."
Berry had a breakout rookie year in 2010 when he started 16 games, made 92 tackles (77 solo), and had four interceptions — returning one for a touchdown.
That was enough to land him a spot in the Pro Bowl. He became the first Chiefs rookie to make the Pro Bowl since linebacker Derrick Thomas was selected in the 1997 season.
Now, Berry must prove himself again by showing that he's fully recovered from the injury and surgery.
Berry said he doesn't feel pressured to make a statement on the field once he's back.
"It's never any pressure," Berry said. "I know what my goals are. As long as my family's happy and I'm happy, it's never any pressure. I know what I expect out of myself. I know what I've been through, and I know where I'm at now, so it's never any pressure.
"I'm going to always try to please myself and make sure I'm doing everything to the best of my ability. I hold myself to high standards, so if there's any pressure, it's going to be pressure that I put on myself, not from anybody else."
Nor will Berry put any pressure on his two twin brothers, Evan and Elliott, who are rising juniors at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga.
Evan Berry has numerous offers from SEC schools, including Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Auburn. Evan plays quarterback and cornerback at Creekside.
Elliott Berry worked out at linebacker when the twins attended a camp at UT on Monday. The twins have said they would like to play football for the same college.
Big brother Eric is staying out of their decision-making process.
"I'm not influencing," Eric said. "I'm out of it. If they need me to tell them what did I do in a certain situation or what to look for, I'm there for them, but I'm not pressuring them to go to any one place. I want them to make their decision for themselves."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.