New Fight Ahead for Eric Berry

When news spread on Monday afternoon that the Kansas City Chiefs placed safety Eric Berry on the Non-Injury list, some were surprised. A medical exam on Saturday revealed he’s suffering from what is feared to be Lymphoma.

After suffering from chest pains following the Oakland Raiders contest last Thursday evening, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry had an exam to decipher what was causing that pain. Those tests indicated that Berry had a mass in his chest that needed further evaluation. With the news today, Berry was in route to Atlanta to see a Lymphoma specialist.

Within minutes of the story hitting social media circles, Eric Berry, not wanting any misinformation to get out, released a statement about his medical condition.

“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,” Berry said.

“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!”

Head coach Andy Reid told the Kansas City Star that Berry needs to be "a beast." The fact that Berry mentioned the shock of the probable diagnosis suggests he has a hard fight in his path.

It’s times like this that remind me NFL players, especially those that I cheer for in a Chiefs uniform, are simply just people. The fact we put athletes on different levels of pedestals reflects the bond we have with those players and what they mean to us individually.

The Chiefs Nation is a rare breed that understands the ups, downs, trial and tribulations that make up their NFL heroes. But when one of their fallen heroes goes down they are right there to pick them up. Today they are in unison they just want their All-Pro safety to beat this illness.

For me personally, it’s hard to be excited about the Chiefs AFC West battle Sunday night against the Denver Broncos or their ascent for a post-season wild card birth. You see that matters very little today.

Instead, what’s at hand today are prayers Eric Berry defeats his illness, and has a quality of life, that fits the genuine heart of the man who is a beloved member of the Chiefs Nation.

Photos: John Rieger USA Today Sports Top Stories