Chiefs Safety Eric Berry Is A Difference-Maker On The Field And Off


At Tennessee, Eric Berry evolved into a collegiate standout—a bone-bruising, playmaking defensive back, whom was ultimately plucked by the Kansas City Chiefs as a top-five draft pick.

He has been voted to the Pro Bowl in three of his first four seasons; the exception being 2011, a year in which an ACL tear sidelined him for all but one game.

He’s a reigning first-team All-Pro who moonlights as one of the handful of faces for Adidas.

And yet, by all indications, you would never know it. At the end of the camera-clad day, Berry is just another 25-year-old. At least, that’s what he disguises himself as.

From fans to foes to kids traveling the same road to recovery that he now prepares to walk, it’s no coincidence that the athlete’s corner is chock-full of support.

In the span of a week, news of Berry’s suspected lymphoma symptoms has spread like wildfire. Consequently, countless names and faces have revealed random acts of his kindness, fitting pieces to a puzzle that portrays a humble, altruistic man behind the curtain.

The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger cites the case of Berry visiting an 11-year-old boy, Brice, whose “bone marrow was 86 percent full of leukemia cells.” There were no cameras. No publicity. Just two soon-to-be friends playing Wii, forgetting the stark realities of the world around them.

In another act of good will, Berry also lent a helping hand to Jhayliegh Rosales, a six-year-old girl who has been battling leukemia since October of last year.

Her uncle, Lewis, said the family held a silent auction to support Jhayliegh’s cause. In an effort to help, her other uncle, Juan, purchased Berry’s jersey and, through a personal contact in public relations, reached out to the Sunday star.

Within days, their niece was holding an autographed jersey of No. 29, along with a picture of the fan favorite donning a “Jhayliegh’s Fight” T-shirt.

“We are all praying for Berry and have no doubt he will beat this,” Lewis added.

Through his foundation, the Chiefs standout has donated everything from a football field to his former stomping ground of Fairburn, Georgia, to 500 backpacks to the youth of Kansas City.

Publicized or not, it’s clear that the only thing lengthier than Berry’s on-field accolades is his checklist of charity work. Unlike like some ticker-tracked idols, his generosity is a trend, not a brand.

And still, at a time when the physical safety finds himself seeking exactly that, Berry is the one doing the reassuring.