Forget for a minute that he’s an all-pro safety. Eric Berry is an incredible human being. I’m not sure of any other Chief who could take something like a cancer diagnosis and turn it into such a positive.
Berry accepted the comeback athlete of the year award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night and gave a speech that I will remember for a while.
“First of all, I’d like to thank God just because none of this would be possible, I wouldn’t be standing before you.
“I also want to thank my parents who are actually here sitting with me. I’m so thankful I have some true ride-or-dies with me who showed me the true meaning of unconditional love and how important it is in this world and I’m truly thankful that I can call you guys my parents.
“Thank you for my brothers who pretty much went against hospital protocol and sat in with me through my treatments. Almost got kicked out but they bucked anyway and I’m proud of them.
“There’s so many people that I can thank and give honor to but I just want to talk to the people out there fighting, whatever they’re fighting.
“It’s two words that stood out to me throughout the whole process was honor and legacy which I got from my big bro Inky (Johnson). You honor the ones that come before you and you leave a legacy for the ones that come behind you.
“When you’re fighting something like cancer you’re not dealing with a person that looks at where you come from or what’s your background, what race you are, what ethnicity or what your culture is, it doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t get tired. If you make it about yourself you’re going to fail every time.
“So you honor the ones that come before you. The Stuart Scott’s. The Robin Roberts. The Leahs (Still). You honor those folks by the way you approach it day in and day out. You attack it because if you make it about yourself you’re going to fall every time.
“You leave a legacy for the ones that come after you. The James Conners. The Brodarius Hamms. The other ones that got diagnosed this past year, even this past day. You try to approach it to where someone can look at your story and look at you and say, ‘You know what I’m not a victim of circumstance, I’m not a victim of diagnosis. I can do it if I put my mind to it and I have a wonderful support system.’
“I’m not accepting this award for me. I’m accepting it for all the fighters out there. Regardless of what your circumstances are, regardless of what your diagnosis is, man just keep pushing and always remember honor and legacy, baby, and you can push through it. Thank you.”