Welcome Back, Eric Berry
Eric Berry was a superstar safety. No one ever questioned that about him. What they did question – and what they continue to question – is if he’ll be the same.
Eric Berry was a superstar safety. He was the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after two All-American seasons at the University of Tennessee. The Chiefs were the ones who picked him, and the Chiefs are the ones who stuck with him.
In eight seasons since that draft, Berry has missed 53 games. In the games he has played, Berry has 14 interceptions and he's taken five to the house. So what caused him to miss all that time?
2011: Torn ACL in season opener (missed 15 games)
2014: Cancer (missed 10 games)
2017: Torn Achilles in season opener (missed 15 games)
That same Achilles tear has kept Berry out of every game this season, too, and he hasn’t played since September of last year.
Oh, and cancer… (did we bury that part?)… he beat it in eight months and immediately strapped on his pads and helmet when he was cleared.
Tonight he rejoins the team with the NFL’s best record and a dominating offense. Its weakness is a defense that ranks among the worst in the league in almost every category. Don't expect that to continue, even if he isn't the Eric Berry of old.
“His spirit is something special,” said Chiefs’ safety Daniel Sorenson in an ESPN interview. “His motivation to come back from whatever is in his way is remarkable. When you get to know Eric and see how he handles things, you’re not surprised by what he’s able to accomplish.”
The Chiefs have refused to cut one of their highest-paid players over the last few years because of what he means to the team as an emotional leader, even when he’s not on the field. And what he means to this year’s team – and this Chiefs’ defense – is everything.
So welcome back, Eric Berry. Football missed you.