The Pro Football Writers Association of America is releasing their various annual awards, and it should surprise nobody that Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry has been named their Comeback Player of the Year for the 2015 season. They do not list any other alternates. The Associated Press will also hand out a Comeback Player of the Year Award, likely as part of the NFL Honors program the night before the Super Bowl.
Berry developed Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year, and missed the last month of the season after a cancerous mass was found in his chest. He had been involved in a collision with an Oakland Raiders player, and noticed chest pain after the hit. The mass was found four days later, and he subsequently began chemotherapy treatments. He used a non-traditional option that allowed him to continue working out during the process, and actually emerged from chemotherapy a pound heavier! He was back in the Chiefs starting lineup by Week 2, and at the end of the season was voted All-Pro.
In virtually any other year, NaVorro Bowman would potentially be a favorite to take home this award. However, there was little doubt in my mind that Berry was going to win it, particularly after putting together such a strong season. I suspect Berry will take home the AP version as well. Speaking of AP, there is some discussion of Adrian Peterson being eligible for the award. We'll likely see the final ballot for the AP's version of the award, and I am curious to see if Peterson gets any consideration. He had a strong comeback from missing most of the 2014 season, but he also missed the season because he was dealing with the legal ramifications of beating his kid. Hopefully nobody actually decides he is worth a vote on this one.