Eric Berry received yet another award Wednesday — the 2016 ESPY for Best Comeback Player — and the star safety once again showed why he’s regarded as one of the Chiefs’ best vocal leaders.
Berry overcame a December 2014 diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma to make the Pro Bowl and to be named an All-Pro last season. He stood on the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and began by thanking God and his parents, in particular, for supporting him during his journey back from cancer.
They “showed me the true meaning of unconditional love and how important it is in this world, and I’m truly thankful that I can call you guys my parents,” Berry said to his parents, James and Carol, who were in the audience.
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Berry, who also thanked his brothers for sitting with him during his chemotherapy treatments, then turned his attention to the people watching who are dealing with their own personal battles, whatever they might be.
“Two words that stood out to me throughout the whole (recovery) process were honor and legacy, which I got from my big bro” Inky Johnson, Berry said, referring to his friend and fellow former Tennessee Volunteer.
“You honor the ones that come before you, and you leave a legacy for the ones that come behind. When you fight something like cancer, you’re not dealing with a person that looks at where you come from or your background or race or ethnicity. It doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t get tired. So if you make it about yourself, you’re going to fail every time.
“So I’m not accepting this award for me — I’m accepting it for all the fighters out there. Regardless of what your circumstance is, regardless of what your diagnosis is, man, just keep pushing. Always remember honor and legacy, baby, and you can push through it.”
The Chiefs have until 3 p.m. Friday to get an extension done with Berry, 27, lest he play the 2016 season under the one-year, $10.8 million franchise tag.
In the absence of a new deal, Berry could also hold off on signing the one-year deal, which would allow him to skip training camp and the preseason and return shortly before the regular season and still collect his full salary.