Without question, the story of Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry is going to be told for generations to come. A 26-year-old comes back from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to play in the National Football League, only eight months after getting the terrifying diagnosis.
The story is not only incredible, but it is tremendously uplifting for fans, coaches and players alike. On Sunday, Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today Sports covered Chiefs camp and focused on Berry, who proceeded to play well in a padded practice. Afterwards, Jones caught up with All-Pro linebacker Derrick Johnson, who spoke about what Berry’s struggle was like for the team.
"“It’s not fair to him, but we kind of knew he would be OK. Maybe that sounds bad to say it, but that’s the kind of pressure we put on him,” Johnson said. “We were like, that’s EB. EB is a man, physically and mentally, so we knew how he was going to attack it. He did just that. Not that we didn’t give him props for it.”"
Now that Berry is back and practicing with the team, the story is continuing to its next chapter. How does the return of an All-Pro safety help the Chiefs win a playoff game and perhaps more after failing to win in the postseason every year since 1993? Berry’s presence should be a huge boost and something that continues to help push Johnson and his teammates through the August heat.
"“Every time you look at him, it’s a reminder, like, ‘Hey, you think you’re tired? You think you can’t get through today? Just look at EB,’ ” Johnson said."
This will be a story to watch both in the preseason and especially once the games begin to count. How tough will Kansas City be – especially on defense – with Berry on the field. One would imagine the Chiefs will have a certain air of strength and desire, considering they are in the huddle with a man who beat cancer and returned so quickly.
I speak for everyone when I say the 2015 season can’t come soon enough.