Chiefs' cancer survivor Berry hoping to inspire


Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was awarded the 2015 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award on Saturday and the cancer survivor hopes his story can inspire those who are suffering from the illness. 

Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in December 2014 but made a remarkable return to football just nine months later. 

The 27-year-old was a key figure this season for the Chiefs as they went on a run of 10 consecutive wins to seal a post-season spot, ultimately losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional round. 

His performances earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl, while he also helped lead the Chiefs to their first play-off win in more than 22 years with a 30-0 shutout of the Houston Texans.

Berry revelled in what he described as a "proud" moment and hopes the award will offer encouragement to others battling ill-health. 

"To be honest with you, I think it will mean a lot for the people who followed my story - the people who are going through things and fighting through something like cancer," Berry said.

"I just wanted to show those people anything is possible and that you can't let anything come between you and your dreams.

"As long as somebody sees my story and is inspired, I think that was my main goal going through everything that I went through - just being strong for people who couldn't be strong for themselves."

Berry's goal now is to get in even better shape for next season - but not before a well-deserved two-week vacation to the Caribbean. 

"Just to clear my head and sit back and reflect," he said of the trip. "Finally just sit back and chill for a minute. 

"Ever since 2014, it has been just a nonstop grind, whether it was getting ready for the season, playing part of the season and then getting diagnosed, going through chemo and everything like that, man, I just haven't had a break yet.

"So, hopefully I get a chance to do that now."

"The biggest thing I want to work on this off-season is just the mental aspect of the game. Last year, I just had to work on everything so I could just to be ready for the season. 

"This year it will be a little more focused on the techniques and situational football, and things I saw this year that will help us win games or put us in position to win more games."