The former Tennessee defensive back has already had a huge impact on the NFL. After being selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Berry was named to the Pro Bowl last month. Not surprising for those that watched his All-American career at UT, but impressive still.
Berry, however, isn't just content with his on-field play. He's also determined to give back to his hometown of Fairburn, Ga., and Knoxville, his college home. Therefore "Wuzzham" was born. Wuzzham is a word born of Berry's creativity on Twitter. Since it has taken off, Berry sells T-shirts at wuzzham.com to benefit The Eric Berry Foundation.
Make the Pro Bowl, make up some words - not bad for a rookie.
Here I, along with co-host Terry Fair, spoke to Berry on The Drive radio show on 100.3 WNOX:
DAVE HOOKER: What does Wuzzham mean?
ERIC BERRY: Wuzzham means what's up. What's going on? What's happening? How are you doing? Whatever you want to take it as. It's just basically a greeting.
TERRY FAIR: Sixteen regular season games and 4 preseason games, how do you feel after your first NFL season?
BERRY: I'm feeling good now. Right after the season for a week and a half my body was shot. All I could do was just lay down in the house and chill out for about a week and a half and get my rest. Right now I'm feeling fine, but those 16 games were pretty brutal.
HOOKER: How much different is the soreness between college and the NFL?
BERRY: It's a lot different because in college we had 12 games and then we had the break between the bowl game. We had a good amount of time off from hitting and being physical. In the NFL you are going right through that. You have 16 games straight. You have one bye week and that's it. And me being a rookie, I had to play all of the preseason games because the coaches were kind of curious. That ended up being 20 games and then the playoff game. That's 21. And then the Pro Bowl, so that's 22. That was probably two seasons in one.
HOOKER: Now wait a second, you guys didn't do anything in that Pro Bowl. For a guy that goes all out was that tough playing in the Pro Bowl which was so relaxed?
BERRY: That was an adjustment for me. You can't really tackle guys low. You can't really be as physical as you want to. It's kind of hard on the defensive side. It's hard for you to gauge how you can tackle and who you are going to tackle. You've got running backs coming out of the backfield going full speed, but we can't go down low. It was kind of awkward.
HOOKER: How challenging was that first regular season game?
BERRY: When we got to the first regular season game the speed of the game clicked to a whole 'nother level. Then it was Monday Night Football and guys didn't tell me that on Monday Night Football it's going to be another level past that. That's almost like the Super Bowl throughout the week. Guys were going 120 mph and it was a shock. I didn't catch on to the speed of the game until about the second half and there would be times where I was moving too fast trying to keep up with people and overrunning things. I couldn't really gauge the game like I wanted to and that's what I think people started to notice over the season. I started to gauge my speed and learned when to go full speed and when to break down and when to go for the kill shot and when to just wrap them up and bring them down.
HOOKER: Was there a point where you could tell you turned the corner or was it just gradual improvement?
BERRY: It was gradual improvement but I would have to say that probably that Jacksonville game (on Oct. 24). I felt like that is where I started feeling comfortable and started doing what I needed to do on the field and seeing that my teammates had confidence in me back there in the secondary.
FAIR: Did it take you a while to break down film and get used to football as a 9-5 job?
BERRY: Not at all. It was harder for me in college because I had to go to class. Right now I put the game DVD's in the PS3 and put it on the big screen and just chill and take notes. I don't have anything else to do. It's not like I have homework. I don't have to go to class and I don't have any 10-page papers (to write). That is my 10-page paper. I just sit and watch film and pick up things that I can do.
HOOKER: What went through your mind being named a Pro Bowler in your rookie year?
BERRY: I got in by being an alternate. I want it to be where it's hands down, Eric Berry needs to be a Pro Bowler. Yes I'm thankful that I was a Pro Bowler and I was excited about it, but I want to take it to another level. I got in by (Troy) Palumalo going to the Super Bowl and Ed Reed not wanting to play in it because of a family issue. I'm grateful that I was picked for the Pro Bowl but at the same time I realize that I was just an alternate. I want to take my game to another level where there can say that Eric Berry needs to be here in Hawaii this year because of his play on the field, not the second or third alternate that comes to Hawaii.
FAIR: What's it like playing in Kansas City?
BERRY: Those fans are just amazing. It reminds me a lot of Knoxville and Neyland Stadium. Just from the crowd noise and how supportive the fans are. They are always in support, whether we are down or up. Anytime during the game they are going to be behind us 100 percent. As a player that is one thing you can appreciate.
HOOKER: You were in Dallas during the Super Bowl. Did you go to the game or just enjoy the festivities?
BERRY: I didn't go to the game. I just sat back and enjoyed the festivities. I got a chance to just really be a fan. I don't get to be a fan that often. I really enjoyed the game. It was a good game. Those guys fought really hard and I just wanted to see that.
HOOKER: Some players don't want to go to a Championship game until they play in one. Do you share that mindset?
BERRY: I'm fine with going to it. Like I said, I'm a fan of this game. I love this game a whole lot. I play it with a passion and at the same time I'm a big fan of it. I don't have a problem with going to the Super Bowl and seeing guys play. That's what I like. I love football. I love watching it and I think that would be a good experience.
FAIR: Any funny rookie stories?
BERRY: The only thing I really had to do was bring donuts. Me, Javier Arenas and Kendrick Lewis had to bring donuts every Thursday and every Friday of the home games we had to bring breakfast. We had to bring Denny's. All the boys wanted Moon's over my hammy and sausage. Then on Saturdays before we traveled we had to bring Popeye's Chicken. It's good. It's good.
HOOKER: Now you're headed to London. What's that all about?
BERRY: I'm going out there to do some things with Adidas. They are having a video game come out dealing with fitness and what they want to do is hook me up to all those little gadgets and things and make me a little avatar for the game. I'll be putting people through fitness drills and things to get in shape.
HOOKER: You still shop at the dollar store and do people recognize you?
BERRY: A lot of people don't recognize me because I have hats on. I wear a lot of fitted caps. Yeah, I shop at the dollar store. I don't see why not. Some of the stuff that's there is a lot cheaper than getting it from other places. Don't get me wrong, I like nice things, but it's just some things where if you can save you should save. That's just how I was brought up and that's what I'm going to do.
HOOKER: Are your twin brothers going to end up at UT?
BERRY: I don't know. We'll have to see about that. The thing I'm telling them is to just focus on playing. It's not like they can go next year or the year after that. They are just freshman right now. The only thing I keep telling them that their grades are right. Make sure they keep working hard and just stay in the books. Right now Elliot has a 3.5 and Evan has a 3.4. I told them they have to catch up to me because I graduated with a 3.7 so they have a ways to go.