Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was discovered to have a mass in his chest and is suspected to have lymphoma, per multiple reports. The Chiefs placed Berry on their season-ending non-football illness list.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is suspected to have lymphoma.
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According to The Kansas City Star's Randy Covitz and Terez A. Paylor, Berry complained of discomfort in his chest during the Chiefs' loss to the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 20. Further testing revealed a mass in his chest, which may be lymphoma, an immune system cancer:
"During the Chiefs' game at Oakland last Thursday night, Chiefs Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry felt some chest discomfort.
"After a week of testing, team doctors and those at the University of Kansas Hospital determined Berry has a mass on the right side of his chest, and the leading consideration is that Berry has lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, Chiefs head athletic trainer Rick Burholder said Monday.
"Berry, of Fairburn, Ga., went to Atlanta on Monday and will have further evaluation at Emory University Hospital by Christopher Flowers, a doctor who specializes in lymphoma.
"Burkholder said Berry, 25, will likely have a biopsy of one of the lymph nodes or of the mass. Burkholder added that Berry is 'about 75 percent done with the testing and it's too early to say what stage the illness may be.
"Burkholder said Berry, who missed five games because of a high ankle sprain, didn't complain about chest discomfort before the Oakland game.
"'That goes along with his toughness mentality,' Burkholder said. 'Everybody gets a physical in June, and everything checked out then. I've obviously been with him a lot this season, and he didn't complain about anything until the ballgame.'
"Berry informed his teammates of his medical condition before a brief practice on Monday morning. The club placed Berry on the non-football illness list, which ends his season.
"Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Berry was hopeful when he addressed the team.
"'We know it's going to work out for Eric,' Reid said. 'He's a beast. He'll attack this. He doesn't like to do a lot of talking, but he felt like the team needed to hear it from him, that he's OK, and he's going to get after this and get it fixed.
"'There were some guys who were shocked by the information and understandably so. These guys love him. He's a big part of this football team, not only as as a player but also as a person, a leader. There were some guys who were shaken up, but with his strength and being able to talk to the players, they felt a comfort.'
"Chiefs owner Clark Hunt also spoke to Berry.
"'He sounded upbeat...and very positive...his mindset was very much of tackling this,' Hunt said.
"Berry issued a statement that was released by the Chiefs.
"'I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom,' Berry said in the release. '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.
"'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!'"
The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger weighed in on Berry's situation:
"Everyone's fight is their own, of course, but if this becomes Berry's fight, he will engage it with an incredible amount of support. He comes from a strong family, with two loving parents and twin younger brothers who happen to play football at Tennessee, where Eric starred.
"These types of things are hard to measure, but Berry is one of the Chiefs' most respected and well-liked teammates. He is wildly talented, but without any of the diva attitude that sometimes comes with highly paid, top draft picks.
"A lot of men in ther early 20s -- football stars and otherwise -- celebrate their youth late into the night. Berry became known for gathering teammates to watch game film after dinner. If you watch closely before games and on the sidelines, you notice he's one of the players who's always 'circled up,' football-speak for one in the middle of a huddle who's doing the talking and encouraging.
"In high school, Berry volunteered at a dentist's office. In college, he would sneak into the equipment room the night before games to help the team managers polish the helmets.
"Berry has a reputation for conscientiousness. He is substance over style, the guy known in high school and college for handling the ball to the referee after a big interception or touchdown. One of the things he's proudest of during his time at Tennessee is that after drawing a pass-interference flag as a freshman, he was never penalized again.
"With the Chiefs, he is constantly thanking the men and women who cook and serve the team meals. He's the one hugging the flight attendant on the plane and donating backpacks full of school supplies to local kids. He jumped at the opportunity to be an official spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, and has been intimately involved in the planning of an annual fundraiser at Arrowhead Stadium."
Berry has amassed 289 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and eight intercpetions in 53 career regular-season games for the Kansas City Chiefs, per ESPN stats.
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