Eric Berry is a professional football player who currently plies his trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a 9-year veteran of the NFL and plays in the defensive back position as a free safety. Berry is widely regarded as the comeback guy of the NFL and the reason is not farfetched. He has fought off career-threatening injuries and even cancer to still be one of the best defensive players in the league. Want to know more about his battle with cancer as well as injuries? We have got you covered.
Who Exactly is Eric Berry?
James Eric Berry was born on the 29th of December 1988 in Fairburn City, Fulton County, Georgia. He had his high school education at Creekside High School where he was an outstanding multi-sport athlete. He lettered in football, long jump, and sprint and excelled in all three. He was crowned the state 200m champion (4A category) in 2005 and in 2007, was crowned the state long jump champion (4A category). Berry was also selected to take part in the 2007 Army All-American Bowl, a football game featuring 90 of the best high school football players in the country. As a result of these exploits, he was pursued by several colleges who offered him scholarships but he chose the University of Tennessee.
Berry spent three years (2007 – 2009) at the University of Tennessee during which he broke several records and received numerous awards and honors. In his freshman year, he was named the best defensive freshman in the SEC (South Eastern Conference). In his 2nd year, he won the Jack Tatum Award as best defensive back and was unanimously named an All-American, an honor reserved for college athletes deemed to be the best in their position. He equally had a stellar third year; he was a unanimous All-American again and also won the Jim Thorpe award as the best defensive back in college football.
NFL Career Achievements
Berry was picked by the Kansa City Chiefs in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft as the fifth overall pick making him the earliest defensive back to be drafted in the league since 2004. The Chiefs signed him on a 6-year deal worth $60,000,000 making him the highest-paid safety in the league. They did not stop at that but named him their starting safety for the season even though he was a rookie. In the nine years he has spent with the Chiefs, Berry has gone on to repay this enormous show of faith and proved to worth every single cent the Chiefs shelled out for him. In 87 games for the Chiefs, he has made a total of 434 tackles (out of which 369 was solo) and deflected 50 passes. His records also include 5.5 QB sacks and 14 interceptions for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns. His incredible performances have earned him numerous honors and recognitions including a call-up to the Pro Bowl on 5 occasions.
Experiences with Cancer and injury
It must be pointed out that it has not all been a bed of roses for Berry as he has endured challenges which would have finished off the career of an ordinary player. In his second season with the Chiefs, he suffered an injury in the very first game; a torn ACL which forced him to miss the rest of the 2011 season. Berry did not allow the injury to keep him down but came back with a bang in the 2012 season. He made a total of 86 tackles (out of which 77 was solo) and deflected 10 passes. His awesome performance earned him an invite once again to the Pro Bowl. Berry equally had an amazing 2013 season, even recording 3.5 QB sacks in addition to his other wonderful stats.
In the 2014 season, Eric Berry faced his biggest opponent till date and it wasn’t an NFL team but cancer. In week 11 of the season in which he had already dealt with an ankle sprain, he started experiencing persistent pain and discomfort in the chest. He informed the team’s doctors who conducted a battery of tests and scans on him. Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in December 2014. Shocked beyond words, he returned to his family home in Atlanta where he started receiving chemo treatments in earnest. Berry went through six rounds of chemo treatment but continued to push himself through workouts, oftentimes in tears. Fortune, however, smiled on Eric Berry as he was declared cancer free on the 22nd of June 2015. He returned to active training in July and eventually made an emotional comeback in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 21, 2015.
All of his tears and sweats paid off as he went on to put in an incredible performance in the 2015 season. He made a total of 61 tackles out of which 55 was solo and deflected 10 passes. He also made 2 interceptions for 40 yards. His heroics, both on and off the pitch, earned him the NFL comeback player of the year award as well as an invite to the Pro Bowl. Berry continued with his strong performances in the next two seasons and in 2017, was rewarded with a new six-year deal worth $78,000,000 making him the highest paid safety in the league once more. Regrettably, Eric Berry suffered an Achilles injury in his very first game of the 2017 season, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. He is poised to return in 2018 and going by his previous antecedents, many are rooting for the cancer survivor to shrug off this latest setback and come back even stronger and better.
Here are Facts You Should Know About His Family
Eric Berry comes from a family of five. His mother’s name is Carol Berry while his father’s name is James Berry. His father played college football for the University of Tennessee. Berry has two younger brothers, Elliot and Evan who are twins and currently play football for the University of Tennesse. Berry credits God and his family with helping him beat cancer. He spent his months of treatment at his parents’ home. His father, who is a phenomenal chef, cooked for him whatever he wanted to eat.
Berry has been romantically linked with a lady by the name Justine Brown. The two follow each other on social media and sometimes post pictures of themselves together. From her posts on social media, it is obvious that she supported him all throughout his battle with cancer. However, it must be stated that there is nothing concrete to show that the two are dating. They are most probably just friends.
Height and Weight
Berry, who wears the number 29 jersey is 6 feet 0 inches tall (1.83m). He weighs 212 pounds or 96 kg. There is no doubt that his physique has helped him in becoming a terror to quarterbacks as well as other offensive players in the league.