Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November of last year. It was a gut-wrenching blow and surely a scary bit of news for Berry, a 26-year-old young man who happens to be a three-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro.
Since the diagnosis, little has come out about Berry other than team officials saying that his treatments are ongoing and progressing well. However, I was coming through Chiefs news and found an interesting article by Hayes Rule of the Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia, who has some solid quotes from outside linebacker Justin Houston on the subject.
"“It was tough, because he was a close friend for me; he’s like family to me,” Houston said of Berry, who grew up in Fairburn. “It was tough not having him on the field, but God willing, he pulled through the situation, so hopefully he’ll be ready to go for this season.”"
Then, Houston said what I found to be more interesting about Berry’ health and status.
"“I think it’ll be really big,” Houston said of Berry’s return. “I think he’s one of the best safeties in the game. Any time you get one of the key pieces to your defense back, it’ll help a lot.”"
That quote reads to me like Houston is fully expecting Berry to be back. Also, this quote was from June, so Berry’s health could have improved even more from that point. The Chiefs are yet to place Berry on the Non-Football Injury list, so he’s eligible to start training camp with the team.
Whether or not that is possible remains to be seen, and I want to make clear that all of this is pure speculation. Still, Houston’s comments seem to hint that Berry might be able to play in 2015, something that seemed almost impossible when the former University of Tennessee star was given the news back in November.
This wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete returned from cancer in a short period of time. In Jan. 1993, Pittsburgh penguins star Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with the exact same cancer as Berry and came back after treatments to play two months later.
For now, all we can do is hope and pray that Berry recovers from cancer. If that includes him playing football again, awesome. The Chiefs would certainly welcome him back with open arms, considering he is one of the best players the game has seen in recent years.