Eric Berry admits: He's not a fan of horses â€” including the Chiefs' Warpaint
By SEAN KEELERFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Berry isn’t afraid of knocking heads with 6-foot-4 tight ends. Or of making kamikaze runs downfield on special teams.
“Anything in the horse family — zebras, cows, anything that’s close to resembling that,” the
Kansas City Chiefs safety said Wednesday. “I just don’t deal with them.”
Berry admits he suffers from equinophobia, a psychological fear of horses. Of course, this can lead to, shall we say, awkward moments during home games, where horseplay is a big part of the Arrowhead Stadium mystique.
The Chiefs parade Warpaint, a Paint horse, around the field during pregame ceremonies and after every Kansas City score, a tradition that dates back the franchise’s early years in Kansas City.
Berry’s horse issues came to light after footage of him commenting rather unfavorably about Warpaint during the Chiefs’ Oct.28 loss to Oakland
was captured by NFL Films cameras.
The third-year defensive back said the fear stems from a childhood field trip to a farm, during which he recalled being chased by a pony.
Or something along those lines.
“Now that I think about it, I don’t even know that it was chasing me,” Berry said. “I probably just over-reacted. But still — I don’t deal with them.
“You just don’t know what a horse is thinking. Can you look at a horse and tell what a horse is thinking? Like, it could possibly kick you, run you over, bite you …”
Berry said his first special teams coach with the Chiefs, Steve Hoffman, was aware of his phobia — and even made a point to let him know when Warpaint was on the field so that Berry wouldn’t panic at the sight of the animal while on kickoff coverage.
“My agent (Chad Speck), he’s trying to get me over that, because he’s big into horses and stuff like that,” Berry said. “He’s like, ‘Man, we’ve got to get you used to being around horses,’ and stuff like that. I’m like, ‘Chad, I’m straight. I’m straight. You can have that.’”
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