The truth hit Eric Berry the way he hits receivers coming across the middle.
It had been 264 days since his cancer diagnosis. Yet there he was, buckling himself in on the team plane, free of a disease that claims so many lives.
“I broke down on the plane on the way out here,” Berry admitted after the game, according to the Chiefs’ web site. “It is just a blessing to be out here.”
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Preseason games don’t mean anything in the win-loss column, but Saturday night’s game meant the world to Berry, his teammates, NFL players, and cancer-fighters everywhere.
Berry played just six snaps, but it was enough.
“I’ve been running into a lot of people that don’t even know about football telling me that their cousin has been diagnosed with cancer or their mom or aunt,” he said. “They just tell me that they have hope because they see me out on the field, and that means a lot to me."
Berry has another shot at a normal, healthy life. And that life is defined by so much more than NFL stardom now.