Pre-Camp Reads: What's Next for Chiefs Safety Eric Berry?

A closer look at the eighth-year safety

By now, most people know how Eric Berry's story could mirror a movie plot.

Picture it: Great safety, diagnosed with cancer, beats cancer and comes back an even better safety. Less than a year later-- how can you not be infatuated with his story?

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Berry with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

It was a good selection, as Berry was named to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his career after the 2016 season.

Berry had a career-high 3.5 sacks (-26.5 yards) in 2013, a number that tied for first among all defensive backs in the league.

After making the Pro Bowl in three of his first four seasons, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma late in the 2014 season.

This means the only two times Berry wasn't at the Pro Bowl was when he had a torn ACL in 2011, and then when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Within 251 days of his diagnosis, however, Berry had not only beaten the disease, but also returned to the field — a remarkable rally that stunned even his doctor.

Berry was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year following the 2015 season.

Berry has recorded 429 tackles (361 solo), 5.5 sacks (-37.5), 14 interceptions, 53 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his career.

This past February, Berry signed a contract extension, a move everyone was hoping would happen.


On radio row in Houston before the Super Bowl, Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt illustrated Berry's leadership.

"Eric Berry is somebody that, as a player and as a person, I have tremendous respect for, and it really goes back to even before he had cancer. He's somebody that's been a team leader the entire time he's been here. He's shown maturity well beyond his years, and if you look in the last couple of years, with his cancer diagnosis and the battle he had to get back on the field as quickly as he did in 2015 and then the tremendous year that he had this year, and really the leadership he showed in helping the team get to a AFC West division title, you just can't say enough about the type of player and the type of person Eric Berry is."

2016 Review:

In Berry's 2016 campaign, he made 62 solo tackles (77 total) and returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns.

Berry is responsible for the first ever pick-two in NFL history, which he recorded against the eventual NFC champion Atlanta Falcons last season to lead the Chiefs to a 29-28 victory.

Berry was also the unanimous choice as the Derrick Thomas Award winner this past year—given to the team's Most Valuable Player.

But regardless of what Berry does on the gridiron — and make no mistake, he does plenty — it's his impact on the rest of the roster that Reid calls the most valuable aspect of all.

"It's great for your locker room," Reid said. "I'm stating the obvious because he's one of our team leaders and, really, the heartbeat of that defense. And we've got some great leaders on our team. But Eric's a special guy that way."

Berry got caught on camera this past June by some fans as he was bringing food for three homeless individuals on the streets of Knoxville.

He said that he had been in Knoxville for another event when he saw the homeless individuals. He asked if they wanted something to eat, then brought them what they asked for.

One of the people asked Berry to pray with him, so he did.

"I don't do it for the attention," he said. "I don't do none of this for the attention. I do it to better myself and give back. That's what you should do it for. If somebody looks at it and is like, 'Hey, maybe I should help feed a homeless person today,' or something like that, it's cool, but I ain't doing it for the attention.

"I just do it because I feel like that's what you're supposed to do when you have the chance."

2017 Outlook:

In June, Berry was named to the "NFL Top 100 Players of 2017" list.

He came in at the league's 13th best player, up 42 spots from last season (No.55).

As Berry brings his best every year, his play and leadership will continue to move the team forward.

"I'm going to keep focusing on giving everything I have to this craft, everything I have to this sport—keep embracing the moments and put everything I have into those moments," Berry explained. "I'm just very thankful to be a part of this organization."

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