Berry, Vols deliver for cancer patients, nurses

Vols visit patients at UTMC Cancer Institute

Nurses cooed. Patients smiled. And four Tennessee football players signed autographs and visited for more than an hour Wednesday afternoon inside the UT Cancer Institute.

Safety Eric Berry, who visited along with receiver Denarius Moore, defensive end Chris Walker and walk-on defensive lineman/tight end Chuck Karlosky, had barely stepped off the elevator before requests came for pictures and autographs. After a few media interviews, the players continued into a room where some patients were receiving treatment before more autographs, pictures and hugs in the waiting room.

Some of the patients weren't even scheduled for treatment, making a special trip to meet Berry and his teammates. Berry, who has two aunts who survived breast cancer, posed for photos with staff and patients alike. He even slipped behind a desk at a nurse's station to sign more items, prompting this exchange:

Berry: "Am I allowed back here?"

Nurse (excitedly): "He's using my desk!"

These days, that's the kind of stir that accompanies UT's star safety, whose image adorns billboards not only in Knoxville promoting the upcoming football season, but also ones in South Florida and Atlanta that tout him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

"I'm just like, 'What in the world? That's really me?' " Berry said chuckling when asked about the billboards. "Then you've got to get back focused and keep driving. It's a good feeling to see yourself up there, to be honest."

While many of those in the Cancer Institute were happy to see Berry, the junior got a surprise himself over the weekend.

While at a party in Washington, D.C., a friend of Berry's called and claimed to have Baltimore Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed on the line.

"I thought someone was playing on my phone at first, man," Berry said. "I'm like, shut up, this is not Ed Reed. Get out of here. Stop playing. He was like, 'No, for real, this is E Reed from the Ravens.' "

Berry, who has been compared to Reed by some because of his versatility, said he spoke with Reed for more than 30 minutes. Reed shared some wisdom picked up in his eight-year career, which includes five Pro Bowl trips and five All-Pro selections. He also shared his phone number and told Berry to feel free to call during the season.

But the biggest moment for Berry came when Reed told him he was a fan.

"I told him it was an honor to talk to him, and he said, 'Likewise, it's an honor to talk with you,' " Berry said. "I'm sitting here like, I'm playing college ball, you're Ed Reed. You have records in the NFL, Pro Bowls, and it's an honor to talk to me? He was saying he'd been following me and likes the way I play. He said I play like him and (Reed's former Miami teammate) Sean Taylor. That made me smile ear to ear."

And even though Berry and his teammates were the ones responsible for all of the smiles on Wednesday, they still took something away from their visit.

"We go on the field week in and week out, but we know we're going to walk off the field," Berry said. "These guys and women, they're going through a lot of things, and I really take my hat off to them and salute them because they truly are strong people."

Moore Ahead of Schedule? Moore, who was competing for a starting spot opposite Gerald Jones at receiver, said he hopes to return early from surgery on his left foot.

Moore was projected to be out eight to 10 weeks after having surgery last week to repair a broken bone suffered during offseason workouts.

"They said it's coming along pretty well, and hopefully I can come back sooner than expected," Moore said.

An eight-week recovery time would put Moore back on the practice field the week of UT's season-opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 5.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 24

OldSmokey writes:

Good read.

BeachBumVol writes:

always great to see the players reach out to the community.

Go Vols!!!

cloudodust writes:

Acts like those written above is what seperates men from Gators.

Down_The_Field writes:

wha.....wha.....wha.....what a niiiiice boy.

allvol32 writes:

Football's a great game - but it's still a game. I think every family has been touched by cancer in some way. I'm very proud of these UT athletes for taking time to bring some joy into the lives of these folks who are facing one of life's toughest opponents. The pictures of the beaming faces are very heartwarming and are worth a lot more than 1000 words.

TnScooby writes:

Great read for ALL fans...refreshing to see extra effort off the field that serves a higher purpose other than football..kudos to these young men!!

crimsonviper writes:

Now that is a good story.I saw a long time ago E.Berry was the man on the field.It looks like he is just as much the man off the field.I know everybody here knows this but I still have to say,this kid is a winner.

CaliVol2009 writes:

in response to crimsonviper:

Now that is a good story.I saw a long time ago E.Berry was the man on the field.It looks like he is just as much the man off the field.I know everybody here knows this but I still have to say,this kid is a winner.

Florida coaches cheating? Not possible. LOL, everyone knows lil urban crier has BEEN cheating for quite some time now. This really is not very surprising.

mbushnell writes:

Glad to see our guys representing the Volunteer name well.

lildhoss76ut#638162 writes:

Eric Berry=CLASS ACT!
GO VOLS!

WytheVol writes:

Berry is doing a great job of "leading by example" and it is great to see that he remains humble with all the hooplah surrounding him thus far. I feel certain his actions will carry on- on the field as well. He certainly makes me proud to be a VOL! And I hope he continues to lead and coach the new young men on campus to carry on with his attitude, athletes and students alike. The world needs more Berry-like celebrities. Great job Eric, with your attitude and abilities... The sky is the limit for you young man. Good luck! GO VOLS!!!

WytheVol writes:

in response to WytheVol:

Berry is doing a great job of "leading by example" and it is great to see that he remains humble with all the hooplah surrounding him thus far. I feel certain his actions will carry on- on the field as well. He certainly makes me proud to be a VOL! And I hope he continues to lead and coach the new young men on campus to carry on with his attitude, athletes and students alike. The world needs more Berry-like celebrities. Great job Eric, with your attitude and abilities... The sky is the limit for you young man. Good luck! GO VOLS!!!

Props to Denarius, Chris and Chuck as well. I guess I left them out because of Berry's status. It is great to see them ALL putting smiles on the faces of these folks and trying to give back to the community. GO VOLS!!

TommyJack writes:

Nice job, lads.

JustaStudent writes:

Good to hear. Nice story

JustaStudent writes:

Just a thought, but maybe the football team could do something with the Cancer T-Shirts like the basketball team did last year against Florida. Obviously you can't get all 106,000 fans to buy one but you might get half. That's still a lot of money for cancer research at UT.

seventysevenvol writes:

It is always good to see young vibrant athletes, male and female, make scheduled visits to hospitals to uplift the spirits of those afflicted. Many school teams do this every summer. Adds a nice touch to a dismal environment.

kingsportvolfan writes:

this is a very good story. It really touches me, i had an aunt that bled orange was real close with kenny chesney even met Peyton a few times. No matter how they were playing she wouldnt down them. she was diagnosed with cancer Casey Clausens junior year she didnt make it through that season. Kenny Chesney called her a couple days before she passed. She loved her Vols and I know shes rooting for them in heaven!!

jackdup4vols writes:

in response to kingsportvolfan:

this is a very good story. It really touches me, i had an aunt that bled orange was real close with kenny chesney even met Peyton a few times. No matter how they were playing she wouldnt down them. she was diagnosed with cancer Casey Clausens junior year she didnt make it through that season. Kenny Chesney called her a couple days before she passed. She loved her Vols and I know shes rooting for them in heaven!!

kingsportvolfan, you've got me all teared up! I live in Jonesborough, work in Kingsport, and am always interested to learn the location of Vol fans on this site. Have seen you post many times before, but just wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks for sharing such a special story/memories of your Aunt -- God Bless. It is easy to get carried away and side tracked with regard to sports, especially TN football, but learning of personal stories such as yours helps to put things in perspective, which I personally sometimes need; especially on this site! Thanks again for sharing. The thought of angels looking down and cheering for our Vols is pretty cool!! I said it's great, to be, a TN VOL!!

kingsportvolfan writes:

in response to jackdup4vols:

kingsportvolfan, you've got me all teared up! I live in Jonesborough, work in Kingsport, and am always interested to learn the location of Vol fans on this site. Have seen you post many times before, but just wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks for sharing such a special story/memories of your Aunt -- God Bless. It is easy to get carried away and side tracked with regard to sports, especially TN football, but learning of personal stories such as yours helps to put things in perspective, which I personally sometimes need; especially on this site! Thanks again for sharing. The thought of angels looking down and cheering for our Vols is pretty cool!! I said it's great, to be, a TN VOL!!

thank you very much man. a friend thats blood runs orange is always a friend to me!!

hueypilot writes:

in response to cloudodust:

Acts like those written above is what seperates men from Gators.

I'm sure all programs have some young men who give of themselves on and off the field. Even Florida. Seriously, I think Tebow's record of off-the-field activities in behalf of others is well documented and I applaud all the atheletes who represent their schools well.

pammyvol1000 writes:

Eric and all the guys are good!! Good for TN and good for the community. I follow him on Twitter@!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Cream rises to the top.

USCJohn1999 writes:

Although I am not a UT fan, I do respect what Tennessee instills in its players and coaching staff (especially now that you guys have a part of USC running things). This type of thing doesn't get the attention that it truly deserves. Also, I don't know if it would've been better, but maybe Kiffin should've been there as well. I know Lard-Azz Fulmer would have. (I have personal reasons for hating him and the way he treated a small child and his father at the 1998 National Championship get together the night before the Alabama game)

jackdup4vols writes:

in response to kingsportvolfan:

thank you very much man. a friend thats blood runs orange is always a friend to me!!

Ditto!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features