KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry made NFL history Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, and that performance helped the veteran earn his second AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award in the last four weeks.
Berry returned an interception for a touchdown, and sealed the game for the Chiefs with an interception on a Falcons’ two-point conversion attempt. Berry returned the pick for a defensive two-point score.
That marked the first two-point score a for a defensive player on an interception during a conversion try in NFL history. The score provided the winning margin in the team’s 29-28 win over the Falcons.
The game proved a celebrated homecoming for Berry, who grew up in the Atlanta area. It was also where he returned for chemotherapy treatment following his diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma during the 2014 season.
“I shed a few tears before the game, I shed a few during the game, and I shed a few after,” Berry said after the game. “I think I held it together pretty good, but it was a lot of emotions, so I just tried to contain them and let it show through my plays.”
Berry delivered the ball from his interception touchdown return to the stands from where his parents watched the game. The safety gave the ball to his mother. The interception for the “pick-two” allowed the veteran to deliver a second ball to his father.
“And for it to happen — both of them supported me throughout the whole process,” Berry said. “I can’t thank them enough, I can’t do enough to show my appreciation, so I just keep pushing and keep trying.”
The award marked Berry’s second award this season and the second in his career. The Chiefs now have won three AFC Defensive Player of the Week awards. Berry owns wins in weeks 10 and 13 while cornerback Marcus Peters won in week three.
Berry and Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack have each won the award twice. They pair have also won three of the last four weekly honors. The players square off in a Thursday Night Football match-up with first place in the AFC West on the line.
“I’m ready for the Raiders,” Berry said. “We have a short week, so there is nothing we can do about that.”