The Chiefs used the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft to make the relatively unpopular selection of Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Many thought the selection of Berry was simply too high to draft a safety, but Berry spent most of the next seven years proving people wrong.
Berry was healthy for only five full seasons of his NFL career, but in those five seasons, he was a five-time Pro Bowler, a three-time 1st Team All-Pro, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, and a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was fundamental in transforming the team from the atrocity that was the Todd Haley era into the Andy Reid era that culminated in the Super Bowl LIV Championship.
But Berry’s story does not stop there. The former All-Pro was an inspiration to Chiefs Kingdom and the nation in the way he persevered through one of the worst-luck careers in NFL history. During his (short) nine year career, Berry suffered a season-ending ending ACL injury and a season-ending (and for all intents and purposes career-ending) Achilles tear. Even more, he battled back enough from a devastating diagnosis of Hodgkins’ lymphoma to return to his dominant form—enough to put together his best two professional seasons in 2015 and 2016. His story is legendary, and the Chiefs should honor him as a result.
Like Thomas, Berry’s contribution to the Super Bowl secondary are also important and worth mentioning. While not an active player for the two seasons leading up to the championship, Berry was on the team and continued being a leader, a motivator, a mentor and a teacher for the pieces that ultimately claimed the sport’s top prize.
Many want to discount Berry’s career as a Chief because of his medical history or because he played in only one game after signing a massive contract extension (that the Chiefs are literally still paying for). We understand the frustration, but it should not cloud our vision of what Berry meant to the organization, the fan base, and the country.