Eric Berry will go down in NFL history as one of the greatest securities ever. Since his college days, Berry has proven what a great talent he has on the field. His talent combined with an amazing personality has made him one of the most admirable NFL players. But like any other NFL player, Berry’s career has not been without setbacks. Perhaps the most horrific was the 2014 cancer scare, and in the end, Berry emerged victorious in the brief but emotional cancer battle that was to end his career. Three years and more have passed since he was declared cancer-free, and Eric Berry continues to enjoy an amazing career that many can only wish for. The 2016 contract extension sealed with the Kansas City Chiefs easily made him the highest-paid security guard in the league.
Eric Berry Biography
Berry was born James Eric Berry on 29 December 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia. He inherited his athletic side from his father James, who played college football as a running back for the University of Tennessee. He played from 1978 to 1981, when he was named team captain. Eric Berry has two younger brothers, twins Elliott and Evan, who both played college football at the University of Tennessee. Evan plays in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.
At Creekside High School in Fairburn, Eric Berry became a star athlete who ran the track and played football. After graduating from high school, Berry, who received offers from various schools, followed in his father’s footsteps and attended the University of Tennessee. Berry also inherited his father’s leadership skills when he was named captain of the college team in his sophomore year. Following that, Berry pursued an incredible college career and was nominated as a finalist for the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award, the Lott Trophy, and the Chuck Bednarik Award. In 2009, he won the Jim Thorpe Award, before giving up the 2010 NFL draft in the final year of his career.
Eric Berry was named a top candidate by a number of sports publications and was the first defensive back to be drafted. The Kansas City Chiefs had selected him in the first round (fifth round in total). He was signed to a 6-year contract worth $60 million.
Berry had an excellent rookie season and helped to improve the values of his team’s defense. He was the first rookie of the Chiefs since Derrick Thomas was called to the Pro Bowl in 1989.
His first major career injury occurred in September 2011 when he ruptured his cruciate ligament and after 9 months of recovery, he quickly returned to the team and regained his role as a strong safety player at the beginning of his career.
Another setback hit Berry’s career when he was diagnosed with cancer in December 2014. Eventually, Berry overcame the disease and resumed normal duty on his team less than 6 months after his diagnosis. He improved his overall score and was named AP Comeback Player of the Year in 2015. Since 2018, Eric Berry has been called to the Pro Bowl at least five times and has been named All-Pro Player of the first team at least three times.
Eric Berry is well rewarded for his incredible talents. His ability to improve his game from year to year has made him a very valuable player for the Chiefs. When his first contract with the Chiefs expired in 2017, the franchise signed a record six-year contract worth $78 million, making him the highest-paid security player in the NFL. The contract included a $40 million guarantee and a $20 million signing bonus. Under the terms of the contract, he appeared for the second time on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes at number 34 with an annual income of $31.1 million, with over 90% of that coming from his salary with the Chiefs. The rest came from his sponsorship deal with Adidas, who became his partner in May 2010.
According to his profile on the official NFL website, Eric Berry’s career statistics include the end of the 2017 season;
Total tackles: 434
Forced fumbles: 3
Pass deflections: 50
Defensive touchdowns: 5
What Kind of Cancer Did He Suffer From?
Eric Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in early December 2014, a few weeks after he was examined for chest pain. The doctors discovered a mass in his chest. Berry was treated by lymphoma specialist Christopher Flowers from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
After the diagnosis was announced, Dr. Flowers explained that recent medical advances in research had made Hodgkin’s lymphoma well treatable. Using standard chemotherapy approaches, Berry’s cancer was fully treated by June 2015, when he was allowed to resume his football career.
The prognosis for Hodgkin’s lymphoma continues to improve, as recent medical studies show.