In one of the all-time feel-good stories in Kansas City sports history, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was named to the National Football League’s 2015 All-Pro team by the Associated Press, nearly completing an amazing comeback from the Hodgkin lymphoma he was diagnosed with one year ago. Teammates Derrick Johnson and Marcus Peters were selected as second team All-Pros on Friday as well.
It’s the second All-Pro honor for Berry, who was also selected to the first-team in 2013, and he was the only Chiefs player to make the first-team in 2015. Berry recorded 61 tackles with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed this season and was selected to be on the Pro Bowl roster in December as well. However, it was the inspiration he generated among teammates and fans from his battle with lymphoma that might have been the best part of his season.
“It’s an incredible honor. It means a lot to me,” Berry told The Associated Press. “Football’s a team game, so I have to give credit to those guys around me as well. We’ve been hungry from the get-go. I don’t know how to explain it, but I think you see it throughout our play. I think our play speaks for itself.”
Johnson is an All-Pro for the second time in his career (first-team, 2011). He led the Chiefs in tackles in 2015 with 116 (95 solo), had 4.0 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. His accomplishment is as unexpected as Berry’s because Johnson missed most of the 2014 season after tearing his Achilles in the opening game against the Tennessee Titans and, at age 33, football players don’t tend to come back that quickly and effectively from an injury like that.
Peters finished the season tied with Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson for the league lead in interceptions with 8, and led the league in interception return yards (280) and passes defensed (26). He also had 60 tackles (53 solo), 1 force fumble and 2 interception return touchdowns. Peters was selected for the Pro Bowl in December as well.
Here is the entire team as voted on by the AP:
- Quarterback: Cam Newton, Carolina
- Running backs: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Doug Martin, Tampa Bay
- Fullback: Mike Tolbert, Carolina
- Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, New England
- Wide receivers: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh; Julio Jones, Atlanta
- Tackles: Joe Thomas, Cleveland; Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati
- Guards: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore; David DeCastro, Pittsburgh
- Center: Ryan Kalil, Carolina
- Placekicker: Stephen Gostkowski, New England
- Kick returner: Tyler Lockett, Seattle
- Ends: J.J. Watt, Houston; Khalil Mack, Oakland
- Tackles: Aaron Donald, St. Louis; Geno Atkins, Cincinnati
- Outside linebackers: Von Miller, Denver; Khalil Mack, Oakland; Thomas Davis, Carolina
- Inside linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Carolina; NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco
- Cornerbacks: Josh Norman, Carolina; Patrick Peterson, Arizona
- Safeties: Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona; Eric Berry, Chiefs
- Punter: Johnny Hekker, St. Louis
- Quarterback: Carson Palmer, Arizona
- Running backs: Todd Gurley, St. Louis; Devonta Freeman, Atlanta
- Fullback: Pat DiMarco, Atlanta
- Tight end: Greg Olsen, Carolina
- Wide receivers: Brandon Marshall, N.Y. Jets; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston; Odell Beckham Jr., N.Y. Giants
- Tackles: Tyron Smith, Dallas; Trent Williams, Washington
- Guards: Josh Sitton, Green Bay; Mike Iupati, Arizona; Zach Martin, Dallas
- Center: Travis Frederick, Dallas
- Placekicker: Dan Bailey, Dallas
- Kick returner: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota
- Ends: Muhammad Wilkerson, N.Y. Jets; Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit
- Tackles: Kawann Short, Carolina; Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
- Outside linebacker: Jamie Collins, New England
- Inside linebackers: Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Derrick Johnson, Chiefs
- Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman, Seattle; Chris Harris Jr., Denver; Marcus Peters, Chiefs
- Safeties: Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati; Charles Woodson, Oakland
- Punter: Sam Koch, Baltimore
Berry, Johnson and Peters will all be on the field Saturday afternoon when the Chiefs play the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Kickoff will be at 3:20 p.m. CT.