The Kansas City Chiefs have had many great defensive leaders at the safety position throughout the franchise’s history, with Tyrann Mathieu currently manning the position. I will be counting down the top five safeties in Chiefs history.
Honorable mentions: Jerome Woods, Jim Kearney, Greg Wesley, and Tyrann Mathieu
#5: Lloyd Burruss
After a successful college career at Maryland, Lloyd Burruss was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs 78th overall in the third round. Burruss, a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, played for ten seasons in Kansas City from 1981-1991. Buruss had one Pro Bowl selection and picked off 22 passes, including four for touchdowns. He also averaged 63 tackles per season. Burruss was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1999.
#4: Eric Berry
Arguably the most talented player on this list, Eric Berry competed for the Chiefs from 2010-2018 after being drafted fifth overall in the 2010 draft. In his rookie season, Berry made the Pro Bowl with four interceptions and one forced fumble. Berry’s promising career was plagued with a torn ACL in 2011, a lymphoma diagnosis in 2014, and a ruptured Achilles in 2017. In spite of all that, Berry made the Pro Bowl four more times as well as three First-Team All-Pro teams. Berry finished his career with 445 tackles, 14 interceptions, and 51 passes defended.
#3: Gary Barbaro
Gary Barbaro was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round of the 1976 draft out of Nicholls State. Barbaro only played one year of high school football, instead, playing the trombone in his high school’s marching band. He played for Kansas City from 1976-1982, anchoring the secondary and leading the way with 39 career interceptions. Barbaro was also selected to three Pro Bowls, including a ten interception year in 1980.
#2: Deron Cherry
Starting alongside Burruss in the secondary for ten seasons, Deron Cherry is considered by many one of the greatest safeties of all time. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, Cherry was selected to six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro First Teams. Cherry started 124 games and had 50 interceptions for his career. He had six 100+ tackle seasons along with almost 1,000 career tackles. Cherry is also tied for the Chiefs record for career fumble recoveries with 15.
#1: Johnny Robinson
At number one on this list, Johny Robinson was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Texans in 1960 after winning a National Championship at LSU. The Texans changed relocated to Kansas City in 1963 and Robinson made the switch from flanker to safety. Robinson is tied for 13th all-time with 57 interceptions and was a large contributor to the 1970 Super Bowl-winning Chiefs team. Robinson recorded an interception and a fumble recovery in Super Bowl IV. While playing mostly in the AFL, Robinson was a six-time AFL All-Star and a five-time first-team All-Pro. He made one NFL Pro Bowl in 1970. Robinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019 and played 12 years for the Chiefs franchise.