Eric Berry Bio: Early Life, Professional Career & Net Worth

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Eric Berry is a former NFL safety from the United States. On December 8, 2014, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He returned for the 2015 season and was named to the Pro Bowl and the AP All-Pro team after undergoing chemotherapy in the offseason and being declared cancer-free. 

He played for the Kansas City Chiefs for 9 seasons.

Eric Berry (Source;
Eric Berry (Source;

Over the course of his career, Berry has been awarded multiple honors and awards. He is also known for bravely fighting cancer and winning over it.

Eric was inducted into the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

He took a year off from his game in 2019. Here are some quick facts about him before we learn more about him in detail.

Quick Facts | Eric Berry

Full Name Eric Berry
Birth Date December 29, 1988
Birth Place Atlanta, Georgia
Known as Berry
Religion Christian
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Education Creekside High School, University of Tennessee
Horoscope Capricorn
Father’s Name James Berry
Mother’s Name  Carol Berry
Siblings 2; Evan Berry And Elliot Berry
Age 35 Years Old
Height 6 ft. 0 in (1.83m) (183 cm)
Weight 96 kgs (211 lbs)
Build Athletic
Body Measurements Unknown
Hair Color Dark Brown
Eye Color Dark Brown
Profession Athlete
Active Years  Inactive
Marital Status  Unmarried
Spouse/Girlfriend  N/A
Children  None
Net Worth $21 Million
Social Media Instagram, Twitter
NFL draft 2010/ Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Merch Autographed JerseyHelmet Shadow Box, Rookie Card
Last Update May, 2024

Eric Berry | Early Life & Family

Born on 29th December 1988 to mother Carol Berry and father James Berry in Fairburn, Georgia. He is the oldest of the 3 brothers.

He has younger twin brothers, Evan Berry and Elliot Berry. They are both football players as well and are free agents now.

Eric Berry was a sporty youngster. He participated in many sports, including football. Eric completed his high school at Creekside High School, where he set the records for the long jump and 200-meter hurdle.

Eric Berry In The Field (Source; Pro Football Rumours)
Eric Berry In The Field (Source; Pro Football Rumours)

He finished his high school football career after he graduated and was ranked as the third-best football player in the country at that time.

As a result of his excellent performance at school, Berry got scholarships from various universities.

He chose the University of Tennessee and played for their team under head coaches’ guidance, Philip Fulmer and Lane Kiffin.

Eric Berry | College Career

The University of Tennessee had the pleasure of having Berry play under their name from 2007 to 2009.

In his freshman year, the Sporting News awarded Berry the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year. He also got the opportunity to play in many of the big games that season.

Eric was named the SEC Freshman of the Week twice for his excellent gameplay in the three final matches. The rivals also named him the 1st team Freshman All-American.

He became the team captain in his sophomore year, which is not common. The team awarded captaincy to Berry because of his stellar performance in his freshman year.

Eric Berry Through The Years (Source USA Today)
Eric Berry Through The Years (Source USA Today)

Eric successfully set the record for the most interception return yards with 487 yards, which was only 14 yards less than the NCAA record for interception return yards.

His early success was so significant that many sports journalists predicted that he would be the best defensive player in Tennessee’s history. He was also the finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the Lott Trophy, and the Chuck Bednarik Award.

In the 2007 season, Eric was again named the SEC Defensive Player of the year and was picked in the first All-SEC team. He also won the unanimous first-team All-American. He also won the Jack Tatum Award as well.

In the 2008 season, his junior year, Berry made 87 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defended, and one fumble recovery. He was named the first-team All-SEC selection and the unanimous first-team All-American for the second time.

In the 2009 season, Eric received the Jim Thorpe Award and The Touchdown Club of Columbus’s Jack Tatum Award for the second year. Berry clarified to everyone that he intended to join the 2010 NFL Draft.

Awards And Honors In College

  • 2000s ESPN All-Decade High School Football Team, 2000s Team Of The Decade First Team, 2000s Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team.
  • 2009 Unanimous All-American, 2009 Jim Thorpe Award, 2009 Bronko Nagurski Award Finalist, 2009 Lott Award Finalist, 2009 Jack Tatum Award Winner, 2009 First-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP).
  • 2008 Unanimous All-American, 2008 National Defensive Sophomore of the Year, 2008 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, 2008 Jack Tatum Award Winner, 2008 First-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP), 2008 Vince Dooley Award, 2008 Jim Thorpe Award Finalist
  • Unanimous 2007 First-team Freshman All-American, 2007 National Defensive Freshman of the Year.
  • 2007 SEC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, 2007 Second-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP), 2007 All-SEC Freshmen Team, 2007 All-SEC Freshmen Academic Honor Roll, 2006 Georgia High School Player of the Year (Gatorade).

College Stats

Year GP–GS Tackles Sacks Pass Defense Fumbles
Tackles Loss–Yards No–Yards Int–Yards TD PD QB Yards FF
2007 14–14 86 2–3 0–0 5–222 1 4 0 55 2
2008 12–12 72 9–21 3–11 7–265 2 6 0 0 0
2009 12–12 83 7-15 0–0 2–7 0 7 3 46 1
Total 241 18–39 3–11 14–494 3 17 3 0–0 0

Eric Berry | Professional Career

Eric Berry decided to forgo the final year of college and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. For the same reason, he attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana, completed all the tasks excellently, and came second among safeties.

Eric was considered one of the highest-scouted safeties in the history of the NFL. Speaking about the performance and impact that Eric Berry left during the scouting, St. Louis Rams’ GM Billy Devaney said,

“As a rule, safeties aren’t talked about going that high. But this guy, I think in everybody’s mind, impacts the game. You try to get impact players, and Berry’s certainly one.”

The Kansas City Cheifs signed Eric Berry in the fifth pick of the first round in the 2010 draft.

He was the highest-drafted defensive since 2004, choosing Jersey No. 29 as a tribute to his hometown and former Tennessee defensive back Inky Johnson, whose career was cut short due to an injury.

Eric Berry also became the highest-paid safety in league history to have been drafted for a whopping $60 million contract, including a $34 million guarantee.

He debuted as a starting safety in the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Deigo Chargers, where he gained six combined tackles.

Berry completed his rookie season with a career-high of 92 combined tackles, nine pass deflections, four interceptions, and a forced fumble in 16 games and 16 starts.

2011- 2019

In 2011, Eric Berry played the Pro Bowl for the first time and was also the only rookie selected for the Pro Ball since linebacker Derrik Thomas.

Having Berry’s presence on the team made the team’s defense stronger and took their defense ranking top 11th best in the league in the 2010 season.

With Berry playing for them, the Kansas City Cheifs finished first in the AFC West with 10-6.

His second season with the Kansas City Chiefs started with an injury incurred during the match with Buffalo Bills. He sustained a torn ACL and could not carry on for the rest of the regular season.

Eric Berry went to the training session of the 2012 season and played as the starting safety. He went on to have a good season as he was announced as one of the six Cheifs players to be voted to the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Eric Berry (Source:
Eric Berry (Source:

The Kansas City Chiefs introduced a new head coach, Andy Reid, and he, too, decided on keeping Berry as the starting safety.

After playing most of the matches, Coach Reid decided to give Berry a rest before going into the playoffs, as they had already secured the position.

Yet again, Eric was one of the players from the Chiefs to be selected for the 2014 Pro Bowl. This was his third consecutive Pro Bowl. Berry scored the second-highest overall score among the safeties in Pro Football Focus in 2013.

In his fourth year playing for the Kansas City Cheifs, he played phenomenally while scoring a career-high of 15 tackles.

He sustained a high ankle sprain when playing against the Denver Broncos on September 14, 2014. And was put on rest for the next five games.

After 2014

Berry was named one of five Kansas City Chiefs players to be selected for the 2016 Pro Bowl in 2015.

In 16 games and 15 starts in 2015, he had 61 combined tackles (55 solos), ten pass deflections, and two interceptions. Star Football Center gave Berry a grade of 87.7, ranking fifth among all passing safeties in 2015. 

On August 28, 2016, Berry signed a one-year, $10.80 million franchise tag to stay with the Chiefs for the 2016 season. Both Berry and the Chiefs were unable to agree on a long-term contract.

He was the highest-ranked defensive back on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 list, ranking 13th among his peers. Later, the Chiefs announced that he had broken his Achilles tendon and would be out for the remainder of the season.

At the end of the season, he started one game and had seven combined tackles, four of which were solo. He was officially placed on injured reserve by the Kansas City Chiefs on September 9, 2017.

In 2018, He missed 13 games before making his season debut in Week 15 due to being diagnosed with a Haglund deformity. He appeared in two games during the regular season and one playoff game when the Chiefs were defeated by the New England Patriots 31–37 in the AFC Championship.

Berry was let go by the Chiefs on March 13, 2019, to avoid having his entire salary guaranteed.

Career Highlights And Awards

  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2015)
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (2013, 2015, 2016)
  • 5× Pro Bowl (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)
  • NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2010)
  • George Halas Award (2016)
  • Jim Thorpe Award (2009)
  • 2× Jack Tatum Trophy (2008, 2009)
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2008)
  • 2× Unanimous All-American (2008, 2009)
  • 2× First-team All-SEC (2008, 2009)
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles: 440
Sacks: 5.5
Interceptions: 14
Forced fumbles: 3
Pass deflections: 50
Defensive touchdowns: 5

Fighting Cancer

Despite playing well, 2014 was a rough year for Eric Berry, his family, and his career because a mass was discovered in his chest, and the medical professionals diagnosed him with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

His season immediately stopped, and the team placed him on the non-football illness list.

Luckily, his Lymphoma was treatable with chemotherapy, and his doctors were heard saying,

“This is a diagnosis that is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy approaches. The goal of Mr. Berry’s treatment is to cure his lymphoma, and we are beginning that treatment now.”

Eric Berry bravely fought and won over cancer and was cleared to play football by the doctors in July 2015, almost nine months after being diagnosed with cancer.

After coming back, Berry recorded his career-high of four pass deflections and intercepted a pass by the legendary quarterback Peyton Mannings during a victory at the Denver Broncos.

Eric After Beating Cancer (Source: LA Times)
Eric After Beating Cancer (Source: LA Times)

He received the Comeback Player of the Year award and was ranked 55th out of 100 top NFL Players of 2016 by his fellow players.

The Kansas City Chiefs signed Berry to a six-year $78 million contract with a $40 million guarantee and a $20 million signing bonus. This made him the highest-paid safety in the history of the NFL.

Berry ruptured his Achilles that season and would miss the rest of the season. Berry was later diagnosed with Haglund’s deformity, where a bone spur digs into the Achilles and is extremely painful.

The injury caused him to miss the first 13 games. He played two regular-season games and one playoff game for the season. The Kansas City Chiefs released him in the year 2019.

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Eric Berry | Personal Life, Family, Net Worth

James Berry, the father of Eric, was also a football player for the University of Tennessee. Similarly, his brothers Evan and Elliot Berry also played for the University of Tennessee and are now free agents.

Berry has signed various endorsements, and in 2014, he signed with Adidas, the sports manufacturing giant.

He is also active in charity work and has even established the Eric Berry Foundation in 2011 to help provide safe environments for children to participate in team sports.

Eric has equinophobia and a fear of horses. This was not helpful as the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs was a horse named Warpaint.

Berry enjoys being the highest-paid safety in the league, and his net worth is around $21 million.

Why Did Eric Left Football?

After Eric’s cancer diagnosis, his ruptured Achilles, and other injuries.

During an interview with Sam Mellinger of The KC Star, Berry talked about why he walked away abruptly in 2018 from football. 

Berry described, “The safety also talked about his bout with cancer and that he hadn’t truly come to grips with the feat until after he got away from the game and decompressed.”

Eric Berry, Up For Hall Of Fame

Tennessee star Eric Berry is one of three ex-Vols on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2022 class, which was released by the National Football Foundation this year.

Berry is joined by wide receiver and return specialist Willie Gault and wide receiver Larry Seivers on the ballot. He has made it to the ballot for the first time, whereas the other two have been there already.

With his eight years in NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric is surely a Hall of Fame talent, but his poor health lagged him behind. Otherwise, those who can recall Berry’s prime may look past his 89 career games and would certainly place him on the ballot.

Eric was inducted into the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

Eric (2003-06) led his teams to a 37-5 record, two region championships, and a state 4A quarterfinal during his four years as a starting quarterback and safety in high school.

As a senior in 2006, Berry rushed for more than 1,500 yards, threw for more than 1,000 yards, and added three interceptions and more than 40 defensive tackles.

He was also a starter in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and is regarded as one of the safeties with the most scouts since Sean Taylor.

Berry became an outstanding safety for the Chiefs and Tennessee after Creekside.

He was the youngest inductee at 35. Creekside was among the three high-school teams that attended the event.

In addition to being eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024, the retired safety is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

Eric Berry | Social Media

Berry is active on Twitter and Instagram and is constantly retweeting and posting football-related posts.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eric Berry (@stunt4president)

The Search Graph

Even after Eric is inactive on the playing field, his fans still search for him.

Eric Berry, The Search Graph (Source: Google Trend)
Eric Berry, The Search Graph (Source: Google Trend)

In this year and a year before, Eric was inducted into the hall of fame titles which also can be a reason for his hiked search graph.

Eric Berry | FAQs

Did Eric Berry retire?

No, Berry took a break from Football in 2019 but is set to make a comeback when the time comes, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Actually, it was all Eric’s wish to sit out intentionally for the last season.

Eric did have opportunities to play in the league, but he took a sabbatical. He wanted to make sure first that he was mentally and physically perfect.

Did Eric have cancer?

Yes, he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2014, but he overcame it and is healthy now, still playing Football.

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Aaditya Bhatta
Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta is a dynamic writer and sports enthusiast, whose passion for both realms is reflected in his work. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Aaditya brings a unique perspective to his writing, captivating readers with his engaging content.


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Aaditya's journey as a writer and sports aficionado began at a young age when he discovered his passion for both pursuits. Throughout his academic and professional endeavors, Aaditya has honed his skills in content creation and sports analysis, immersing himself in the intricacies of the games he loves.

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