For the British actor, see Eric Berry (actor).
Eric Berry
Eric Berry with the Kansas City Chiefs.
No. 29     Kansas City Chiefs
Personal information
Date of birth: (1988-12-29) December 29, 1988 (age 31)
Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia
High School: Fairburn (GA) Creekside
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Tennessee
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Debuted in 2010 for the Kansas City Chiefs
Career history
* Kansas City Chiefs ( 2010–present)
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
* 3× Pro Bowl (2010, 2012, 2013)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2013
Tackles     252
Sacks     5.5
Interceptions     8
Forced Fumbles     2
Stats at

James Eric Berry[1] (born December 29, 1988), nicknamed "The Fifth Dimension,"[2][3] is an American football safety for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Tennessee, was a two-time unanimous All-American, and was recognized as the best collegiate defensive back in the country. The Kansas City Chiefs chose him with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Early yearsEdit

Berry was born in Fairburn, Georgia. He attended Creekside High School in Fairburn, and was a standout athlete for the Creekside Seminoles track and football teams.

Berry played cornerback and quarterback, earning a 37-5 record as a starter at Creekside.[4] He was teammates with Rokevious Watkins and Terrance Parks. Following his stellar high school career, Berry was invited to play in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Berry was considered the top player in Georgia and the top cornerback prospect by every recruiting service, and ranked him the #3 player in the nation.[4] He was once clocked at 4.38-4.41 range at the 40-yard dash at a soft indoor surface at a high school Combine.[5]

Track and fieldEdit

Berry was also a standout athlete for the Creekside High School track team. He set school records in long jump, with a leap of 6.95 meters, and 200 meters, with a time of 21.76 seconds.

Berry was the anchor leg of the 2006 Class 4A state championship 4 x 400 metres relay team. Individually, he was the 2005 Class 4A state champion in the 200 meters.

College careerEdit

Berry received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee, where he played for the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 2007 to 2009.

2007 seasonEdit

As a freshman, Berry replaced fifth year senior Jarod Parrish after a strong showing in his first collegiate game against California.[6] Berry turned in several big plays during his freshman season en route to being named the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year by the Sporting News.[7] His 222 return yards(on five interceptions) broke the 37 year-old Tennessee record by 43 yards.[8] Berry led all SEC freshmen in tackles with 86. He twice was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his play over the regular season’s final three games.[9] After the season, he was also named 1st team Freshman All-American by Rivals.[10]

2008 seasonEdit

File:Eric berry.jpg

Prior to the season, despite being a sophomore, Berry was named a team captain.[11]

For the year, Berry tied for the national lead in interceptions with 7 and returned them for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns, breaking the record he set the year earlier. Combined with the yards he accumulated as a Freshman, Berry set the all-time career SEC record for interception return yards with 487 yards, only 14 yards shy of the NCAA record for interception return yards, set by Terrell Buckley during his time at Florida State. He also finished the regular season with 72 tackles, 6 pass break-ups and 3 sacks.

Berry also took snaps on offense at quarterback and wide receiver, gaining 44 rushing yards on 7 carries. In addition, he gained 32 yards on 2 kick-off returns.

His early success had some journalists speculating that he could end up being the best defensive player in Tennessee history.[12] He was nominated as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the Lott Trophy, and the Chuck Bednarik Award.

Berry was named the SEC Defensive Player of the year and was a first-team All-SEC pick. He was also a unanimous first-team All American.[13] The Touchdown Club of Columbus also named him their winner of the 2008 Jack Tatum Award as well.

2009 seasonEdit

Following his junior season in 2009, Berry was a first-team All-SEC selection, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American for the second consecutive season.[13] He won the Jim Thorpe Award and also was the recipient of The Touchdown Club of Columbus's Jack Tatum Award for the second straight year.

He would forgo his last year of eligibility at the University of Tennessee and enter the NFL draft.

College awards and honorsEdit

  • 2009 Unanimous All-American
  • 2000s ESPN All-Decade High School Football Team
  • 2000s Team Of The Decade First Team
  • 2000s Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team
  • 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 (Sporting News)
  • 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 statisticsEdit

Correct as of 2008 season end.
Year GP–GS Tackles Sacks Pass Defense Fumbles Blocked
Solo Ast Total Loss–Yards No–Yards Int–Yards TD PD QBH Yards FF Kick
2007 14–14     86 2–3 0–0 5–222 1 4 0 55 2 0
2008 12–12     72 9–21 3–11 7–265 2 6 0 0 0 0
2009 12–12     83 7-15 0–0 2–7 0 7 3 46 1 0
Total     241 18–39 3–11 14–494 3 17 3 0–0 0 0

Professional careerEdit

2010 NFL DraftEdit

"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."

Following Tennessee's 37–14 loss to Virginia Tech in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl, Berry announced his decision to forgo his final year of college football eligibility, entering the 2010 NFL Draft.[15] At the NFL combine, Berry officially ran a 4.47 40-yard dash time.

Berry was regarded as the highest touted safety since Sean Taylor, whom Berry idolized prior to Taylor's death,[16][17][18] and was expected to be selected no lower than No. 7, the Cleveland Browns pick.[14]

The Kansas City Chiefs selected Berry with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, making him the highest drafted defensive back since Taylor, and the highest drafted Tennessee Volunteer since Jamal Lewis.[19] Berry selected number 29 as his jersey number in honor of former Tennessee defensive back standout Inky Johnson, whose career was cut short due to an injury and also as a tribute to his hometown Fairburn, GA and the main road Highway 29.[20]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 0 in 211 lb 4.47 s 1.54 s 2.51 s 4.23 s 6.80 s 43 in 10 ft 10 in 19 rep

He and the Chiefs agreed to a six-year, $60 million contract on July 30, 2010 making Berry the highest-paid safety in NFL history.[22]

Berry also signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Adidas.[23]

Kansas City ChiefsEdit

In his first season, Berry started all 16 games and became the first Chiefs rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl since linebacker great Derrick Thomas.[24] Berry had a big impact on the team's defense, helping to improve it from 29th best unit in 2009 in terms of points allowed to 11th in 2010,[25][26] In addition to starting every game, Berry was on the field for almost half of Kansas City's special teams plays and was the only Chiefs defender to play every defensive snap.[27]

He led the team in interceptions (4), and was second only to Derrick Johnson in tackles (92) and solo tackles(77).[28] On December 26, 2010, Berry scored his first NFL touchdown on a 54-yard interception return against the Tennessee Titans.

In his first playoff game, he recorded a career-high in solo tackles with 9 and passes defended with 4.

On September 11, 2011, Berry suffered a torn ACL, and was placed on injured reserve on September 14, ending his season.[29] Berry had surgery on September 29, 2011, and returned for the start of the 2012 NFL season.

Berry has been named to three Pro Bowls, in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

NFL statsEdit

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Fumble Return Yards Interceptions Interception Return Yards Yards per Interception Return Longest Interception Return Interceptions Returned for Touchdown Passes Defended
2010 KC 16 92 77 15 2.0 1 0 0 4 102 26 54 1 9
2012 KC 16 86 73 13 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 10
2013 KC 15 74 66 8 3.5 1 2 24 3 134 45 49 2 10
Career 47 252 216 36 5.5 2 2 0 8 236 30 54 3 29

Personal lifeEdit

Berry's father, James, played running back for the University of Tennessee from 1978 to 1981, and was a captain of the 1981 squad.[4] Berry's younger brothers, twins Elliott and Evan, have committed to play football at Tennessee, starting in the 2014 season.[30]

Berry suffers from Equinophobia, a fear of horses, frequently brought on by the team's mascot, Warpaint. This fear was brought on after a traumatizing childhood event at a petting zoo where a horse bit him while his back was turned. At the time, Berry also was under the impression that all live horses were akin to the My Little Pony children's toy, with "rainbows and stars flying behind them." The traumatizing horse bite, along with his shattered expectations of what horses truly looked like, caused Berry to lose all faith in horse-kind. Berry's first thought after being bitten was, "Dang, horse... I trusted you." He hopes to one day appreciate the gentle and graceful nature of all horses. [31]


  1. "Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry". Kansas City Chiefs. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  2. Scoop Jackson (8 September 2009). "Berry's game prep is second to none". Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  3. Mahalo (9 April 2010). "Eric Berry Profile". Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 UT Sports Information (7 September 2007). "Eric Berry #14". Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  5. Scott Kennedy: Scouting Eric Berry in High School
  6. Mike Strange (6 September 2007). "Williams Rewarded with First Start". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  7. Bryan Mullen (29 November 2007). "UT's Berry, Lincoln earn freshman honors". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
  8.  Eric Berry. "Player Bio: Eric Berry". University of Tennessee Athletics. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  9. UT Sports Information (29 November 2007). "Berry SEC Def. Frosh of Year, Lincoln top kicker". Retrieved 2007-11-29.[dead link]
  10. UT Sports Information (29 November 2007). "Berry Named Freshman A-A; Lincoln 2nd Team". Retrieved 2007-11-29.[dead link]
  11. "Berry humbly heroic". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  12. Jones, Jimmy (2008-10-20). "Berry coming through for Vols". Shelbyville Times-Gazette.
  13. 13.0 13.1 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 12 (2011). Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ridenour, Marla (April 3, 2010), "Browns consider using seventh pick in draft on safety Eric Berry", Beacon Journal,
  15. Ward, Austin (December 31, 2009), "Berry makes it official: ready for NFL", GoVolsXtra,
  16. Hooker, Dave (April 30, 2010), "Berry takes his admiration of Sean Taylor to Chiefs", GoVolsXtra,
  17. Rosenthal, Gregg (April 4, 2010), "Trade could clear way for Eric Berry to land with Browns", Pro Football Talk,
  18. Casserly, Charley (April 26, 2010), "AFC draft: Rating top picks, intriguing players to follow", CBS Sports,, "He was a better prospect than Sean Taylor."
  19. Blunda, Michael (April 1, 2010), "Chiefs weighing pros, cons of drafting Berry at No. 5", Pro Football Weekly,
  20. Dawson, Chief (2010-04-26). "2010 NFL Draft: Eric Berry Fourth In Rookie Jersey Sales". Arrowhead Pride. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  21. "Eric Berry Combine Profile",,, retrieved March 2, 2010
  22. "Berry, Chiefs agree to six year, $60M contract just before camp", July 30, 2010.
  23. [1], May 4, 2010.
  24. "Thirteen replacement players announced for Pro Bowl". Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  25. "Kansas City Regular Season Scoring Defense Stats 2009". Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  26. "Kansas City Regular Season Scoring Defense Stats 2010". Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  28. "Kansas City Regular Season Stats 2010". Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  29. "Chiefs place Eric Berry on IR". September 14, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  30. "Berry Twins Commit To UT,", 4 November 2013. Retrieved: 4 November 2013.
  31. "Eric Berry is scared of the Kansas City Chiefs' horse".

External linksEdit

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