Legendary Tennessee safety Eric Berry, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, has been placed on the non-football injury list with a mass on the right side of his chest, Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder confirmed on Monday afternoon.
Though no official diagnosis has been made, Berry will travel to Atlanta this week to see a lymphoma specialist, as team doctors called that form of cancer “the leading consideration” for what has caused the mass.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Berry, who was the No. 5 overall pick by the Chiefs in the 2010 NFL Draft, released a statement regarding his situation via the Chiefs official website:
“I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom. At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game, but I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight. I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!”
An All-American who won numerous awards during his career at Tennessee (2007-09), Berry finished his UT career with 245 career tackles, 14 interceptions and was a fan favorite during his time in Knoxville. Berry’s younger twin brothers, Evan and Elliott Berry are true freshmen on this year’s team. Eric’s father, James, was a running back at Tennessee as well.
The prayers and thoughts of the entire RTI crew go out to Eric, the Chiefs and the Berry family.