July 22, 2014

Medina
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Browns: Cornerback Aaron Berry gets another chance with Cleveland

The Browns are giving cornerback Aaron Berry another chance to work for a couple of his former bosses.

Cleveland signed the free agent Monday. He’ll compete for a spot in the secondary and should contribute on special teams.

Berry played for the New York Jets in 2012 when Browns rookie coach Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator and first-year Cleveland coordinator Jim O’Neil was on his staff.

Berry, who’ll turn 26 this month, missed last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in training camp with the Jets. Berry’s dealt with hamstring and shoulder injuries and has also been plagued by off-the-field troubles that drew a suspension from the NFL in 2012 before his time with the Jets.

“Aaron Berry gives us both depth and competition at corner, and has the potential to upgrade our kicking game,” general manager Ray Farmer said in a press release announcing the move. “He’s tough and relentless and his strength prior to his injury was man coverage. He’s also accountable for his past, which is well-documented.

“We recognize that he’s had missteps, as does he. Before and after that adverse period in his life, members of our coaching staff and players in our locker room worked with Aaron. From a communication standpoint, there’s a degree of comfort we have with him, and a degree of comfort he’ll have with the Browns. He has a chance to earn the opportunity to contribute to any success we’ll have this fall.”

Berry (5-foot-9, 190 pounds) originally signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. He played two years with the Lions before signing with the Jets in 2012. He has played in 19 games with four starts, totaling 28 tackles, 12 passes defensed and an interception.

The Lions cut Berry in July 2012 after his second arrest in a month. He was arrested for DUI, then accused of pointing a loaded gun at three people. He entered the league’s substance abuse program and was suspended three games for violating the personal conduct policy.

He released a statement after he was cut by the Lions.

“Words cannot describe how embarrassed I am right now,” he said. “I’ve let my family, my teammates, my coaches and the entire Detroit Lions organization, including the fans, down and I’m so sorry. I know it sounds crazy to some people, but I know I will continue to get better and grow from this unfortunate experience, I have no choice but to get better.

“I love the game of football and still feel I have a bright future ahead of me.”

Berry joins a cornerback group that includes Pro Bowler Joe Haden, first-round pick Justin Gilbert, Buster Skrine, fourth-round pick Pierre Desir, Leon McFadden and former Jets teammate Isaiah Trufant.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.